Thursday, February 18, 2010

Long Running Dublin Dock Dispute Ends Amicably At Last

As Predicted Mutual Agreement Reached
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND – As we envisaged yesterday the long and acrimonious dispute at the port of Dublin was resolved today with the three parties involved in the negotiations issuing a press release that sees obstructions to normal freight traffic removed by mutual consent. Port management company Marine Terminals Limited (MTL), the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) saw an agreement, voted on by port employees, signed this morning.

The settlement between Marine Terminals Limited and SIPTU makes reference to the Irish Labour Court’s Recommendation of 12th October 2009, and the Arbitrator’s Findings issued on 5th January 2010, sets out agreements on arbitration and problem solving, and commits both parties to building skills and co-operation for the future running of the port.

SIPTU’s Divisional Organiser, Christy McQuillan, commented: “Our members have been through a very difficult experience regarding their welfare and that of their families over a protracted period. The important thing is that hands-on jobs at Dublin Port have been protected and the company has an opportunity to grow and develop the business which will hopefully lead to the creation of further jobs.”

He continued: “The Agreement also ensures that workers in the company will have union representation and will have access to all the industrial relations procedures of the State. The Agreement provides for a comprehensive training programme for the workers returning to work and they will be multi-skilled in all the work disciplines at MTL. Great credit is due to the commitment of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in bringing this settlement about while the solidarity of the communities played its own part during the dispute. The termination of the dispute is within the spirit and intent of the Labour Court recommendation of October 2009.”

An MTL spokesman said: “Dublin’s economic prosperity depends to a large degree on the smooth operation of a modern and efficient port. Today’s agreement marks a major step forward in ensuring our customers continue to receive the high level of service they are accustomed to. We are grateful to the ITF for their efforts and look forward to working in partnership with SIPTU to deliver on both the spirit and letter of the agreement.”

Norrie McVicar, Britain and Ireland Co-ordinator of the ITF, which has brokered the agreement, stated: “It is no secret that this dispute has been a long and acrimonious one. Well, from today that can change. By talking and thanks to the commitment shown by both sides, we can all go forward together and build a healthy and profitable port operation that benefits everyone involved as well as the city and nation that it serves.”

Let us hope that the ongoing and increasingly contentious dispute at the port of Milford Haven reported here earlier can also be settled amicably.