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Unite warns again over London Gateway

[ June 14, 2013   //   ]

Unite has repeated its call to DP World’s new London Gateway port to recognise the trade union, warning that it would otherwise mount a campaign “to expose anti-union practices”.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey urged the port’s owners, Dubai-based DP World to deliver “basic labour rights for workers”. Unite believes that the refusal to recognise the union will mean a race to the bottom in terms of employment conditions which could also threaten the future viability of Felixstowe, Southampton and Thamesport.

In a letter to DP World’s CEO, Mohammed Sharaf, Len McCluskey said:  “As a former dockworker I will not countenance the establishment of a major non-union port in Britain.

“The management of the London Gateway project are refusing to enter into meaningful negotiations with my union and have made it clear that they will not sign a collective agreement covering workers employed at the site.

“If this blatant anti-union behaviour continues, then I will be left with no option, other than to authorise the start of a Unite campaign to expose the anti-union practices of your company, to all interested parties including shareholders and customers.

“It is clear that the anti-union behaviour of London Gateway management and DPW is in breach of core international labour standards.”

Len McCluskey warned that many potential clients will have signed codes of practice committing them to agreed labour standards These include Marks and Spencer – a key signatory to the Ethical Trading Initiative – which recently signed a deal to open a logistics centre at the port.

Unite launched its campaign for union recognition with a demonstration outside the company’s headquarters in London’s Victoria. Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery said: “We will ratchet up the campaign in the coming weeks until the management  grants union recognition and treats our members with the respect accorded to millions of other workers in the UK.

“We are demanding the company enters meaningful talks regarding a collective agreement and access.”

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