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On the picket line

January 20, 2006 | Page 11

European dockworkers
By Ken Morgan

THE GERMAN port of Hamburg was the site of a 24-hour shutdown as a result of a strike of several thousand German dockworkers.

The strike was part of an internationally coordinated series of job actions to protest European Parliament plans to implement policies that would seriously undermine safety and job security in European ports. An international delegation of dockworkers will be protesting outside the European Parliament's meeting in Strasbourg, France, demanding that the proposed attacks on European dockworkers be scrapped.

Paddy Crumley, national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), called these proposed attacks against dockworkers "consistent with the global attacks on dockworkers that have resulted in such actions as the ILWU lockout"--a reference to the employer lockout of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on the West Coast in 2002.

The MUA will be sending a 14-member delegation to Strasbourg, and there are reports that delegations from the United States and Japan will also attend. In addition, workers plan to shut down ports in Spain, France, Portugal and other European countries on January 16-17.

Corporations around the globe have used the international attack on dockworkers during the past several years as leverage to attack all workers. This is why all workers should support the struggle of European dockworkers to defend their working conditions, their right to unionize and their standard of living.

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