Spain is reeling after over 6,000 port workers took strike action recently crippling the country’s 39 major ports and blocking trade, with strikes set to continue on an alternate-day basis for the next two weeks.
The long-planned strikes began after port bosses and workers failed to agree on protections over jobs after a mandate stemming from the EU called for the liberalisation of Spanish port services.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative People’s Party, passed the legislation which effectively took the monopoly from port unions to provide loading and unloading services.
Spain’s dockworkers union originally announced plans to hold a strike between May 24, 2017 – June 9, 2017, however the strikes actually began Monday June 5, 2017, and will likely run to June 23, 2017.
Several issues have been raised around port workers and the increasing trend of automation in ports and terminals.
As a potential medium to this, the OECD’s Administrator for Ports & Terminals Olaf Merk wrote a paper for the latest edition of PTI focusing on the potential of a ‘Robot Tax’ which could subsidise those who lose out in the switch to automation.
The latest edition of PTI, entitled Automation & AI is set for imminent release and will be online by Friday 9, June.
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