Around 100 dockworkers demonstrate in Brussels

Around 100 dockworkers demonstrated in Luxembourg Square in Brussels on Wednesday, calling on the European Union to introduce a new policy for ports that takes into account "social aspects."

Dockworkers arrived in the capital following a call by the European Dockworkers Council (EDC), which represents an estimated 18,000 members from 14 unions in 12 different countries.

"Various institutions have hindered progress on critical issues, like dockworker safety"

The demonstrators gathered to demand a "competitive port policy that responds to the challenges of the 21st century". They also stressed the need for "genuine social dialogue and recognition of the social dimension of European initiatives for ports", particularly where European institutions are unresponsive.

"Various institutions have hindered progress on critical issues, like dockworker safety," said EDC coordinator Anthony Tetard. "We’re trying to implement measures to prevent shipboard accidents — and we’re told nothing can be done because there’s no data on accident rates or fatalities," said Tetard.

Dockworkers are also calling for new legislation on CO2 emissions

Dockworkers are also calling for new legislation on CO2 emissions. The union is concerned about the impact of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, which has included maritime transport since 1 January.

The EDC has been taking part in negotiations at the European Commission's port sector committee meetings since 2013, but according to Tetard, nothing has been achieved.


Dockworkers in the port of Antwerp © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM



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