ITF takes use of Peruvian Navy for strikebreaking to UN body

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) raised the use of Peruvian Navy troops as strikebreakers in the pay of APM Terminals at a meeting of UN body the ILO (International Labour Organization) in Geneva today.

The Federation publicised the deteriorating situation in Peru’s port of Callao, where Netherlands-based APMT is paying for military forces to break a legally-ballotted strike by members of the ITF-affiliated SUTRAMPORPC union (see – many of whom have now have received letters demanding they return to work or be sacked.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin explained: “Things are going from bad to worse, with these threatened sackings and the use of navy sailors as strikebreaking mercenaries. Those kind of tactics would be unthinkable in APMT’s home country of the Netherlands, not to mention Denmark, home of its parent, the Maersk Group.

“The irony is that we understand that an agreement was within reach. The main sticking point was that these workers report that they are being denied the medical benefits offered to administrative port staff, despite the risk of injury and exposure to hazardous substances involved in their work.”

He continued: “The strikebreaking began with seafarers being pressured into loading/unloading – something for which they are dangerously untrained and which is actually illegal under Peruvian law. The ITF drew the risks to the attention of ship operators and seafarers and that particular tactic stopped. But it’s now been replaced by the rather shameful hiring of the armed forces to undermine their countrymen’s right to strike. This is what we raised at the Committee on the Application of Standards at the ILO, and we will not rule out formal complaint against the Republic of Peru to the ILO itself.”

He concluded: “We said it at the beginning of this dispute and we’ll say it again: APM Terminals needs to stop creating international incidents and enter sincere negotiations. How much simpler can we make it?”



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