POC Campaign

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“Multi-national Global Network Terminals own 50% of cargo terminals worldwide. If we do not organise these strategic hubs, we have no chance of organising the whole supply chain. And this should be our ultimate goal.”
Paddy Crumlin, President ITF and Chair of ITF Dockers’ Section

A port of convenience is a port or terminal where health and safety standards or working conditions are below what’s considered acceptable by ITF and its affiliated unions.

Steven Bruijneel www.dockwork.be*

Multi-national companies operate global supply chains and are often focused on profit margins and increasing their share of the market. To get the best results some companies are casualising labour and allowing safety standards to fall. Some global companies are opting to use ports where labour is cheaper and where they don’t have to observe H&S standards or recognise organised trade unions. This campaign aims to ensure that standards acceptable to ITF dockers’ unions apply in ports and terminals around the world. The ITF organises to combat the excesses of globalisation and stop the exploitation of transport workers worldwide.

In recognition of continuing employer and government threats to dockers’ jobs, to organised labour and to working conditions, ITF unions voted formally to launch the POC campaign at the ITF’s 41st Congress in Durban, South Africa in 2006. The ITF recognises that we need to organise globally, campaign globally and support each other globally to challenge the multi-nationals. Ports are a huge part of this global challenge because they’re key to organising the supply chain.

The campaign focuses on six main themes:
  • Competition
  • Privatisation
  • Casualisation
  • Trade union rights
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Job security
Within the POC work programme, there is a specific campaign targeted at the activities of the four global network terminal operators (GNTs). Unions across the world have committed to back the GNT campaign. We know that these giants operate in almost half the world’s ports and are growing. With their expansion we’re concerned that labour and safety standards may be driven down in a race to the bottom. The GNT campaign is there to unite workers in GNT and other ports to challenge any negative results of global capital. GNTs have the potential to affect workers in all ports.  They have the ability to undermine terms and conditions in public ports by setting up nearby and cutting wages and standards to outprice organised terminals.  One of our aims is to push for ITF dialogue with the terminal operators to sign up for global framework agreements. These are umbrella agreements with employers that set labour standards in their operations around the world.

Follow this link and this link (PDF) for more on global framework agreements.

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