Aden containers terminal workers still on strike [Archives:2008/1209/Local News]

November 20 2008

By: Ali Saeed
ADEN, Nov 17 ) Aden container terminal workers have been on strike for more than 10 days in protest at the new clauses imposed by Dubai Ports World (DPW), the new operator of the Aden Container Terminal (ACT), in their labor contracts. They were on partial strike from the Nov.5 to Nov.7, and have held complete strike from then until now.

Last Saturday, around 500 workers protested in front of the governor of Aden's office. Media sources indicate that the workers protest every morning for four hours in front of the governor's office before going to the building of the General Union for Labor Syndicates to continue the protest there.

According to the press release by the syndicate of ACT workers, the latter are complaining that the DPW, the new operator of the terminal, has imposed new conditions in the workers' contract that are unjust and do not protect their rights.

The press release stated that the authority had not responded to the workers' complaints. It also declared that the port's new managers as well as the Ministry of Labor and local authorities had not carried out the president and prime minister's directions to employ Yemeni workers in the port.

The syndicate demands stakeholders revise the items of their new contract that have not been approved by the labor office, said the press release. Among their demands, workers asked for the application of the same wages policy in the port of Aden as in the port of Al-Mu'alla, as well as the cancellation of a trial period of six months and a clause in the new contract preventing the worker from demanding his rights. The workers also demand the revision of a clause giving the employer the right to end the contract at any time without paying compensation.

When workers started the strike in the port, the Aden police arrested six of them. The workers committee stated that the executive manager of the new company had threatened to replace the Yemeni laborers with workers from Thailand or Djibouti.

Although the port workers are still on strike, Aref Al-Muhairi, executive manager of DPW, made a statement to the press in which he said that that, although the port had stopped its work for just three hours, it had resumed its work normally. He denied that there were any new conditions in the laborers' contract and said that the strike had not affected work at the port.

Local sources have said that the workers sent two letters to the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, otherwise known as HOOD, and to the syndicate of workers.