Strong support for the recognition of Unite, the country’s largest union, to represent workers at the new prestige deep-sea container port in the Thames estuary - the London Gateway - has come from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
Unite believes that the port’s owners, the Dubai-based DP World’s refusal to recognise the union will mean a race to the bottom in terms of employment conditions which could threaten the future viability of the container ports at Felixstowe and Southampton, as well as at Thamesport.
ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin said today (Wednesday): “The situation is simple. London Gateway is a major DP World project. DP World is firmly on record as valuing the contribution of workers and unions.
“Unite the union is equally committed to a positive outcome at London Gateway. The company should be talking to them right now about how to achieve that.”
The London Gateway is due to open in the autumn and is already recruiting for the 2,500-strong workforce, the majority of which will be dockers.
Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery said: “We have held a number of meetings with Gateway’s management – the most recent was yesterday (16 April) - and management is clear it will not be recognising a trade union prior to the port opening.
“We call on them to rethink this stance and greatly value today’s strong statement from the ITF supporting Unite to be the recognised union for employees in one of the most dangerous industries to work in.
“Union recognition has proved to be vital in promoting health & safety issues in workplaces across the UK – the fact DP World does not want to recognise Unite does not augur well for the health and safety of employees at the London Gateway.”
For further information please contact Jane Jeffery on 07739 822610 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.