France: Marseille dockers win strike

Marseille Port

Marseille dockers agreed to go back to work on Saturday after the Port of Marseille agreed that workers hired for the new gas terminal would be employed directly by the docks rather than allow GDF (Gaz de France) to use its own staff.

The 18-day strike was brought to and end with the CGT union claiming victory after the Port Authority agreed to hire five new full-time workers for the new terminal. The strike is linked not only to the projected privatisation of GDF (currently placed on, hold until after the Presidential elections due to it's widespread unpopularity.), but also to chat the CGT calls 'rampant' moves towards the privatisation of the Port.

The strike was only observed by around 5% of the port workers, ironically none of the workers on the autnomous section of the port, where the terminal will be, were involved. The strikers shut down the petrol terminal and the chemical docks. Each boat waiting outside the port costs its owner between 15000 and 50000 euros a day, a sum the port must reimburse. At the end of the strike there were a total of 63 boats waiting outside the port, some boats had been ordered to divert as health regulations prevent more than a certain number of boats with dangerous cargo being within a certain range of the port.

The strike was the first at the docks since 2005 and the largest there since 1992.