Port workers have begun an “indefinite” strike at the general cargo facility in Callao, Peru operated by APM Terminals (APMT).
APMT spokesperson Tom Boyd confirmed to IHS Maritime that the labour action, which he dubbed “illegal”, began on 13 May. Boyd stressed that the strike is not affecting APMT’s container operations in Callao. “The container terminal is operating fine. Last week, we signed a contract with labour with five percent wage increases,” he said.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has voiced its support for the strike by Peruvian union SUTRAMPORC. According to a statement from SUTRAMPORC secretary Geraldo Honores, the union has gone on strike because APMT “has launched a campaign against the unionised workers” and is “suspending many of them for ridiculous reasons”.
The ITF called on APMT to “respect national and international legislation, engage in proper negotiations, end the discrimination against dockers and agree to wage increases in line with company profit”.
According to Boyd, “The specific issue in Callao is we are implementing an electronic roster system at the port, which allows us to select the port labour union people who work at the port. And just to be clear, this is not a question of selecting union versus non-union workers. This is purely a safer, better process to ensure all port labour union workers have equal access to work at our port. We only employ union employees to work our vessels.
“This electronic roster system is perfectly allowed in the Peru port workers law. It replaces an outdated, inefficient, manual system. This electronic system gives equal, fair access to all port union workers and that is in their best interests and [the best interests of] the users of the port,” said Boyd, adding that it “allows greater security” and “is a much more transparent system than the current system”, which is “done on paper by union leaders”.
“We are respecting all labour laws in Peru,” asserted Boyd. “The Peru minister of labour has not even approved the union strike, which requires authorisation under Peru law.
“APM Terminals categorically rejects the false accusations of anti-union and anti-labour actions which have been made by individuals who seek to maintain control of work allocation at the general cargo facility for their own advantage, at the risk of port security standards and fair access of all port union workers,” concluded Boyd, adding that APMT “looks forward to a swift solution to this unfortunate and illegal work stoppage”.