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London Gateway union squabbles continue, first call 7 Nov

London Gateway union squabbles continue, first call 7 Nov
With DP World’s London Gateway gearing up to accept its first MOL vessel on 7 November, it appears there is still no obvious end to disagreements with organised labour in sight.

So far, four talks have been held with UK trade union Unite, according to Xavier Woodward, head of communications at the port. Currently, Unite maintains allegations that DP World is refusing to recognise them, which, in August, Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery arguing that the port’s actions would entail a “race to the bottom” for employment conditions in UK ports.

Woodward, however, insists that DP World is not anti-union. “DP World London Gateway fully respects the legal right and free choice that all London Gateway employees have to belong to any union (including Unite).

“Likewise, if a majority of our people wished to be recognised, we would respect their wishes and enter into further discussion with the relevant union.

“We have met Unite many times in the past 12 months and made this point on each occasion.”

At the time of opening the port will employ 300 operating a 400 m berth. The number of employees will increase when the second berth is scheduled to open in six months time.

“The entire port is expected to create around 2000 jobs,” explains communications officer Tom Conroy. “Meanwhile, the logistics park will be 10,000.”

All in all, taking direct, indirect, and related employment into account, the port is expected to provide jobs for 36,000, explains Conroy. In August, liner consortium SAECS, consisting of Maersk Line, Deutsch Afrika Linien (DAL), Safmarine and MOL has signed up to make use of the port services.