Rotterdam dockworkers’ union FNV Havens has declared a 24-hour strike at the container terminals, demanding the security of hundreds of jobs that could be lost to automatisation in the coming years.
It is said to be the first major strike in 13 years in the country.
The strike follows the expiry of an ultimatum issued by the union to their employers at the port demanding job security of employees until July 2020 along with possible extension.
Workers at Rotterdam are expected to support the strike campaign at the ECT Delta Terminal, at Uniport and APM terminals.
The construction of automated terminals including the second Maasvlakte is expected to reduce the necessity of human labour.
Of the existing 4,000 positions, approximately 700 jobs are likely to be cut by 2017, according to the union.
A dialogue between the union and the employers and port authority in December 2015 could not reach any agreement.
The dialogue was centred on the Port of Rotterdam’s financial compensation to the employees who were vulnerable to the social consequences of automation and overcapacity in the container sector.
A press release posted last month on the Port of Rotterdam website stated that the container terminal companies located on the Maasvlakte and the lashing companies have offered an employment guarantee for a period of 4.5 years.
However, negotiations fell flat owing to a strike called by the employees.
In a statement, the port said: "They have indicated that they do not wish to continue the negotiations during or while there is a threat of (further) industrial actions.
"The companies and the Port Authority have expressed their regret at the employees’ actions."
Image: An image of a normal day at the Port of Rotterdam. Photo: courtesy of Port of Rotterdam.