Poland’s DCT Gdansk Bans Dock Union Organisers

Organisers of Polish dock union Solidarnosc were banned from accessing the country’s fastest growing port terminal DCT Gdansk.

The ban at DCT Gdansk follows a protest by 30 dockers at the office of the CEO over the termination of a union leader’s employment contract last week, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) reports.

“Union membership at the port is approaching 50 percent. Despite this, management has failed to address union concerns over a number of important issues including pay, contracts, meaningful negotiation, consultation and holidays. It has also brought in a legal firm to handle negotiations with the union over a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) rather than dealing with the process directly,” ITF said.

DCT Gdansk recently secured loans of EUR 290 million to expand its operations and plans to employ 1,500 workers to meet the growing demand for deep-sea services in Central-Eastern Europe. Some of this borrowing is secured through the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

ITF said that itS representatives are in dialogue with the bank over its performance requirement for clients, which stipulates that they will not discourage workers from forming or joining workers’ organisations of their choosing or bargaining collectively, and will not discriminate against workers who participate in such organisations.

“It looks like DCT Gdansk is trying to deploy every dirty trick in the book to avoid dealing openly with Solidarnosc. Its treatment of union members and leaders is deplorable and unacceptable. We expect to see a new CBA shortly. In the meantime we will continue our dialogue with the EBRD, step up pressure on the investment banking group Macquarie which owns DCT and raise this problem with customers and the international trade union community,” ITF President and Chair of the ITF dockers’ section, Paddy Crumlin said.

ITF dockers’ section 2nd vice-chair Torben Seebold is scheduled to meet with Polish union leaders in April to discuss providing international support to help their campaign.

Image: ITF