File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-21.060, message 22

Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 13:51:16 GMT
Subject: M-I: First blood: Antwerp dockers

First Blood

Antwerp dockers have drawn first blood in the runup to next week's
international dockers' action, with a 7 hour boycott of ACL's
"Atlantic Compass" from 11pm Wednesday 15/1 to 6am Thursday morning.
The ship plies a regular route connecting the US east coast with
Europe via Liverpool, where ACL has long been seen as the "Jewel in
the Crown" for Mersey Docks.

The Antwerp hold-up reflects the decision by the International
Transportworkers Federation to throw its weight behind next week's
boycott. Liverpool dockers have paid 4 visits to Antwerp and the
port featured in the Ken Loach BBC documentary in December, but last
night was the first such industrial solidarity by Belgian dockers
and their union, the BTB, since the Liverpool dockers were sacked in
September 1995. The Port held its own strike against privatisation
on 9 December.

Further events are intended in Belgium beginning with a
demonstration at the British Embassy in Brussels on Monday
coinciding with the International Day of Action.

Rotterdam dockers are also expected to take industrial action next
week. In Montreal, the Syndicat des Debardeurs will hold a mass
meeting of longshoremen on Monday while in the Canadian Port of St
John their colleagues will stop work.

In New Zealand, the Port of Auckland will be reduced to a skeleton
crew as workers exercise their right to a "picnic day" on Monday.

And in Sydney harbour, the Maritime Union of Australia is targeting
Zim line, who also face action by the Federation of Transport, Petrol
and Agricultural Workers in Cyprus. Other world-wide actions
previously reported by LabourNet are still scheduled for next week.

LabourNet Report by Greg Dropkin

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