Comunicados de Prensa
ITF applauds Chilean actions
10 septiembre 2012
The ITF today applauded the cross-sectoral strikes taking place in major Chilean ports today in defence of the nation’s long-standing national cabotage policies.
ITF general secretary David Cockroft commented: “Valparaiso port is currently at a standstill. This action is crossing work boundaries to make a strong and important political point: that Chilean shipping should reflect Chilean needs. We commend all those involved.”
Paddy Crumlin, ITF president said: “Australian workers recently won the fight on these same kind of fundamental issues and we applaud the determination of Chile’s trade unions to draw the same line in the sand and say ‘no further’. Their struggle is for the very survival of their national shipping industry.”
Hector Azua, president of the Sindicato de Oficiales de Marina Mercante Southship explained why the strike was called: “We had several meetings with different secretaries of state informing them that we were against the measure and explained to them the potential damages that something like this might have. Now we realize they don’t care. We met with the secretary of the economy on a central and regional level; an exhaustive analysis was made in order to amend the initial project. We even delivered an alternative project but in the end it was not considered by the government. In southern Chile most of the regular shipping trades are subsidized by the state. Without this, none of the companies would be able to operate as the costs are so high. A change in the law would bring in flags of convenience and cheap labour on these routes.”
Juan Luis Villalon, ITF inspector in Chile added: “By opening cabotage up to foreign flags the Chilean government is risking the gradual and slow extermination of a national seafarer workforce. They appear to be trying to do this slowly, perhaps in order to minimise the immediate and visible loss of jobs for Chilean seafarers. They clearly know that if the law is changed all national ship owners will go FOC. We think that our legislation is already flexible enough, particularly through methods such as waivers, bareboat charters, etc, and the legislation does not need to be changed.”
For more information contact ITF press officer, Sam Dawson.
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7940 9260.
International Transport Workers’ Federation – ITF:
ITF House, 49 – 60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DS
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7403 2733
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7375 7871