Unite continues to demand proper terms and conditions for dockworkers at London Gateway, the new container port due to open this month in Essex.
With owners Dubai Ports World refusing to enter into meaningful negotiation, the union is mounting twice-weekly demonstrations as part of its campaign for recognition.
London Gateway is currently recruiting a 2,500-strong workforce but, if there is no collective agreement covering the terms and conditions of all workers at the site, potential recruits – and major customers – may have concerns over safety
“Docks are dangerous places but union recognition always strengthens health and safety standards and reduces accident rates,” said Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery. “Many of the port’s major customers, such as Marks & Spencer, have signed up to codes of practice that commit them to work to agreed labour standards.
“Marks & Spencer has signed up to the Ethical Trading Initiative, which suggests the retailer cares about the human right to a safe workplace. We have demonstrated outside Marks & Spencers’ head office to highlight the issue,” said Jane Jeffery.
‘Now we are also putting the spotlight on individuals. One of those is Sir John Parker, a non-exec director of DP World and a big noise in the 30% Club which campaigns for more women on company boards. Sir John shows a progressive streak in working towards gender equality, so why is he still in the dark ages when it comes to workers’ rights?
“This week, the Unite 4 Gateway campaign has been picketing other members of the 30% Club, demonstrating outside the offices of Brunswick PR and the Investment Management Association,” said Jane Jeffery. “Their people say they care about equality in the boardroom, but what about human rights for workers on the docks at London Gateway? ”
Contact the Unite 4 Gateway campaign team:
Email Jane Jeffery or Paul Constable for details of demonstrations.
Info: Follow @Unite4Gateway on Twitter
‘Like’ the Unite4Gateway Facebook group
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.