Marseilles-Fos’ reports 10% growth, seeks dockers’ referendum
The port of Marseilles-Fos said its container throughput rose 10 percent to 916,600 TEUs for 2004, compared with 833,000 TEUs in 2003, as the French port prepares to consult dockers on a new pay structure.
The total for the Fos terminal, handling mainly east/west trades, increased 11 percent to 593,600 TEUs. The Marseilles terminal, used mainly for north/south services, rose 7 percent to 323,000 TEUs.
The Fos terminal increased its volume 14 percent over the first nine months of 2004. But growth was “pegged back in the last quarter by industrial action over plans for new working agreements in preparation for the proposed Fos 2XL terminal development,” the port said.
In a related matter, the Port of Marseilles Authority is staging a “referendum” among its 1,500-strong workforce to seek support for its five-year, $540 million development strategy that it claims will create 8,500 new jobs.
According the port, about 200 crane drivers went on a go-slow at the end of last year in protest at the authority’s moves to end a traditional “double payment” system under which their regular salaries are boosted by unofficial incentive pay from the private stevedores who run container handling operations.
The authority wants to regulate the drivers’ pay and working hours in line with international standards and the principle of collective agreements covering the rest of its employees, and insists on a solution being found before concluding talks with Fos 2XL’s designated private operators.
The referendum will be held Jan. 18-20, with the result expected Jan. 21.