Union strike shuts Hamburg port

Union strike shuts Hamburg port

Labour action at the Port of Hamburg has shut down vessel movements for 48 hours in a row over wages.

Trade union ver.di called for a “warning strike” across the country demanding a 10.5 per cent wage increase or at least €500 ($544) more per month for approximately 2.5 million public sector employees.

According to reports, the government is offering a 5 per cent increase in two tranches and a one-time payment of about €2,500 ($2.722).

Talks are due to resume next week, but the strike is expected to continue until 24 March.

As a result of the strike, port officials have limited vessel movements on the Elbe, and the port has been closed for all departing vessels.

“Due to the massive restrictions to be expected from the announced warning strikes, the administration has decided to block the Elbe for ships requiring pilotage from around 10.00 a.m. today [22 March] until further notice,” a spokesperson for Hamburg Port Authority said.

Smaller vessels that are not required to carry a pilot can still operate in the port.

At least 18 large vessels were scheduled to arrive in the port, but it is unclear how many vessels scheduled to depart will be delayed.

The Port of Hamburg is the nation’s busiest and the second busiest in Europe.

In 2022, the port handled a total of 8.3 million TEU during 2022, reflecting a 5.1 per cent decrease from its container volume in 2021.

Cargo operations in the port were also disrupted last year due to a series of work stoppages staged by the union, which aimed to secure a new contract for dockworkers throughout Germany.

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