FOLLOWING Unite’s six-month campaign for recognition at London Gateway, owner Dubai Ports World (DPW) has opened the door for the union to recruit dockworkers at the new port, creating a route to eventual union recognition.
“We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the company which gives us access to workers at the port,” said Vince Passfield, deputy regional secretary of Unite’s London & Eastern region. “We are cautiously optimistic as the campaign enters this new phase.”
Thanks to the agreement with DPW, Unite officials are now able to concentrate on a recruitment drive at the port. The goal is to grow membership to a level that secures recognition for Unite.
The region’s lead officer for the docks sector, Jane Jeffery added, “Many of these dockworkers may have little or no experience of the long term benefits that union membership brings. This is particularly relevant within the docks where this union has a long and proud history of representing workers’ interests in terms of health and safety improvements, as well as securing improved terms and conditions.”
DPW is developing London Gateway to handle 3.5 million containers a year. It opened to the first ship in November. Unite and its predecessors have organised British dockers for more than a century. It has negotiating rights at all established major container ports in the UK.
Labour parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock Mike Le-Surf said: “I am delighted that DP World has opened the door to Unite. As a firm supporter of union recognition in the workplace I hope that this is the beginning of a process that will support workers at the port for many years to come and bring more local jobs to the area.”