French port workers call off strike action.
FRANCE"s leading port workers" union has put off plans to call a nationwide work-to-rule from tomorrow but has warned the government that it expects it to do much more to preserve and develop employment if it wants to avert action at French ports in future.
The port and docks federation of the CGT, which had warned that it would call port authority personnel and dockers to work to rule tomorrow if it was not given satisfactory assurances regarding employment prospects at the ports, was this week granted the ports summit it asked for.
But today it said that it was not satisfied with the outcome of Tuesday"s meeting with transport minister Dominique Bussereau and port directors, indicating that it remained convinced that the port reform in progress offered no real prospect of increased activity at French ports in the context of the world economic crisis.
?The minister is wagering on the long term to see if the reform is the right solution for relaunching French ports,? it said in a communiqué today.
?We continue to affirm that this reform is an aberration and that the sole problem of the ports is the chronic lack of investment on the part of the state.?
It said that it would verify on a day-to-day basis if assurances given by the minister at Tuesday"s meeting, notably regarding the recruitment of additional personnel where port authority services were experiencing operational difficulties, were respected or not.
In the meantime, however, it is maintaining the industrial action it began in November, which provides for port workers to choose between banning overtime or refusing night shifts two days per week.
It warned that, in the absence of any improvement in employment prospects at French ports over the coming weeks, it would reactivate its plan for a nationwide work-to-rule.
The tough stance being maintained by the union coincides with the most contested phase of the port reform ? the transfer of port authority terminal personnel to private sector terminal operating companies, which the government is hoping to complete before the summer.
The union argues that terminal operators are no longer in a position to offer the job security promised when the reform was enacted by legislation in July 2008.