Spanish dockworkers' unions have called off a series of one day strikes after a government decree transforming the system of port employment was voted down in Congress today.
Plans put forward by the minority Partido Popular government looked set to end job security over a three year period with port employers talking about a 60% cut in average pay. The proposals followed a 2014 European Court of Justice ruling that the existing system fails to comply with EU law.
The main dockworkers' union, the Coordinadora Estatal de Trabajadores del Mar, argues that, as in some other EU countries, there are ways to comply with the ruling while safeguarding jobs and avoiding casualisation.
Last minute assurances on job security by minister Iñigo de la Serna failed to convince unions and opposition parties, with deputies in Congress rejecting the decree by 175 votes to 142 with 33 abstentions. All but one of the abstentions came from the liberal right Ciudadanos who last night appeared to be wavering over whether to support the government. This is the first time since 1979 that a decree has has been voted down in Congress.
The vote was held against the backdrop of strikes planned to start tomorrow, continuing on alternate days next week. A worldwide day of action next Thursday, backed by the International Dockworkers Council, would have meant three hour stoppages in other European ports and one hour stoppages in ports in the rest of the world. Portuguese dockworkers had agreed not to unload ships diverted from Spanish ports
Following the vote in Congress unions have called off the strikes and are planning to resume negotiations with employers and the government on Monday.
See this forum thread for updates on the dispute and background on the Coordinadora: