Strike pandemonium at Spain’s ports

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SPAIN’S MORE than 6,000 stevedores went on strike on Monday to protest against potential job losses in the wake of the ports reform, which was demanded by the European Union and passed through parliament in mid-May.

Paralysing the country’s 39 cargo ports, workers have called for additional off-hour work stoppages on June 19, 21 and 23, plus a full 48-hour strike from June 14 to the morning of June 16. Workers are also performing scheduled stoppages on Friday, June 9, threatening the country’s main export sectors like industrial machinery and cars.

The government said minimum services were being upheld at ports to ensure perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables were getting through and passenger services were not disrupted.

Some container shipping companies have rerouted cargo due to the strikes. Alternative destinations for shipping companies include Portugal, Morocco and Malta.

The ports reform, which aims to crack down on closed-shop hiring in a heavily unionised sector as demanded by the European Union, was passed through parliament in mid-May after a series of setbacks and clashes between political parties.

Workers broke off subsequent talks with port representatives over how to implement the new law in a disagreement over safeguarding more than 6,000 jobs.

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