Dock workers at Rotterdam Container Terminal are planning industrial action following the breakdown of talks with the port over planned redundancies.

Earlier this week, the FNV Havens union held meetings at which its members voted to organise action at Rotterdam. Today, the CNV union will also discuss the issues with its members.

The disagreements stem from the increasing amount of automation at Rotterdam, particularly on the recently opened terminals at the Maasvlakte II development, notably APM Terminals and Rotterdam World Gateway.

“The gloomiest scenario is that 700 jobs could be lost by 2017,” the union said in a statement.

FNV Havens director Niek Stam  said the union was demanding a job guarantee until 2024 for all employees who had a permanent job on January 1, 2015 at any of the container terminals. He also wants an extension of special policies for older workers.

A spokesman for the Port of Rotterdam told Lloyd’s List: “The direct occasion for these meetings was a conflict between the unions and employers regarding how to handle possible employee redundancies in the container sector over the next few years.”

He added that the trade union would be deciding its campaign plans in the week of 30 November. “When these actions will be taking place is not clear at this point in time,” the spokesman said. “In the meantime, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the employers will continue to look for new opportunities to arrive at an agreement with the unions.”

Consultations, chaired by Port of Rotterdam chairman Allard Castelein, have been taking place between employers and unions since April.

“During the last meeting on November 6 employers and unions could not reach agreement,” the union said. “Since then, there has not been more consultation.”

Source: Rotterdam faces strike action – Lloyd’s Loading List