Replacement labour used by APM Terminals (APMT) to fill in for striking dockworkers at Peru’s Port of Callao has started to affect container operations, according to the labour union’s spokesman.
Juan Carlos Vargas, spokesman for the Peruvian dockworkers’ union SUTRAMPORPC, disputes APMT’s assertion that the strike, now entering its third week, has caused minimal disruptions and has been confined to APMT’s general cargo operations.
“You’ll have to visit us and check the big line of [container drayage] trucks trying to get into the port,” Vargas told IHS Maritime on 26 May. “Clearly [APMT] has a serious problem.”
On 13 May, roughly 650-700 dockworkers went on an indefinite strike at the port, the largest container gateway for the west coast of South America. APMT’s use of a new electronic roster system that replaced a paper-based system to control worker allocation has been at the centre of the dispute, according to APMT.
Although container gantry crane operators are not involved in the strike, Vargas claimed that many of those on strike are part of teams that guide containers into and out of the ships and lock and unlock containers to and from the stacks. He alleged that APMT’s use of Peruvian Navy to replace union labour at APMT’s container, general cargo, and ro-ro operations at the port is both unsafe and illegal.
APMT spokesman Tom Boyd has asserted that the use of navy personnel is allowed under Peruvian law.
Boyd told IHS Maritime on 27 May that contrary to the union’s claims, container and ro-ro operations are open and running normally, and that general cargo operations “are open for business”.