Brotherhood at Hamburg harbour

March 26, 2019 - 17:35

On Monday morning the Yrkestrafikkforbundet (YTF) truck arrived at the impressive Hamburg port, Europe’s third largest, and the YTF delegation was received by unionists from  Ver.di , Germany’s second largest trade union representing more than two million members..
When ships arrive, they are visited by ITF inspectors, who make sure that salaries and working conditions are in accordance with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and if this is not the case – the ship is simply not unloaded.

On Tuesday morning the YTF delegation met with the Lithuanian carriers trade union (LVPS) and Ver.di to talk  about challenges and  organising strategy. The issue of truck drivers from Russia and Ukraine driving  in Lithuania under poorer working conditions than the local workers was raised by our Lithuanian affiliate and possible common actions to stop this race to the bottom were discussed.

The Hamburg harbour hosts took the YTF and the LVPS for breakfast and a tour around the Duckdalben sailors’ club, visited by thousands of seafarers from all over the globe, offering food and drink, a free home phone, and a chapel to satisfy all religions.

The meeting between ver.di, LVPS and YTF is part of the ETF Action Week, which culminates with a massive demonstration in Brussels on Wednesday 27 March. In a world where the transport is becoming a global  industry  it is crucial for trade union to think about a common global strategy and in order to become an active global player.