MADRID, June 16 Spanish port docker unions have
called fresh strikes stretching into July in protest at reforms
in the sector, adding to several days of stoppages that have
dented trade revenue in the country.
Dockers will strike on alternate hours for 48-hour periods
between June 26 and 28, June 29 and July 1, July 3 and 5 and
July 6 and 8, the UGT worker union said.
Spanish port terminals have already been hit by major
disruptions as container shipping companies re-routed their
cargos to avoid strikes in the country, opting for Portugal,
Malta or Morocco instead.
Dockers are angry over reform of port labour practices
passed by Spanish lawmakers in mid-May, which aimed to crack
down on closed-shop hiring in a heavily unionised sector.
Subsequent negotiations over how to implement the new rules
between employers and workers broke down in a dispute over how
to safeguard 6,000 jobs.
The strikes had so far caused losses of 110 million euro
($123 million) to Spain's economy, the public works ministry
said in a statement adding that this was due to business being
The southern Spanish port of Algeciras is particularly
vulnerable to the strikes as much of the goods traffic that
passes through it is not ultimately destined for Spain. It is
used by companies transferring cargos from one boat to another.
Exports have helped underpin Spain's economic recovery over
the past four years. Some 80 percent of imports and 60 percent
of exports are handled by Spanish ports.
Aside from the new strikes called on Friday, further
industrial action has already been set for June 19, 21 and 23.
($1 = 0.8956 euros)
(Reporting by Robert Hetz, Writing by Sarah White, Editing by
Sonya Dowsett and Richard Balmforth)