Dockworkers Rally for Social Dialogue in Brussels

European Dockworkers Council leads protest against neglect of port sector concerns by EU authorities.


European Dockworkers Council (EDC) along with its affiliated unions orchestrated a concentrated demonstration on Wednesday, April 3rd, outside the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels. The rally, which saw the participation of over 100 stevedores from various ports across Europe, was meticulously organized to voice concerns over the conspicuous absence of social dialogue by European authorities and the adoption of measures imperiling the survival of the port sector and its workforce.

Under the rallying cry “One way or another, Dockworkers and Port Workers will be heard,” EDC and its constituent unions have sounded the alarm regarding decisions made by European authorities, foreseeing a gradual erosion of jobs within ports. They also lamented the dearth of consultation on critical issues such as port security and the implementation of decarbonization policies, notably the Emissions Trading System (ETS) directive, without due consideration of the sector’s viewpoint.

The unions’ protest underscores a persistent disregard for the port sector by the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee, in which EDC is a participant.

EDC aims to convey the message that the sector’s concerns and demands have gone unheeded, resulting in fruitless debates and decisions inadequately addressing their needs.

From the organizers’ perspective, it is imperative that port workers have a voice and their decisions be taken into account in shaping European port policies. The lack of effective dialogue, prevailing thus far, has proven ineffective in striking a balance between port development and decent labor conditions, argue the union coalition.

The organization advocates for public investment in ports benefiting all stakeholders, rather than solely maximizing corporate profits. Hence, they advocate for the delineation of a “genuine competitive port policy” to address 21st-century challenges.

Through this demonstration, EDC members seek the support of Members of the European Parliament and demand a more effective and transparent social dialogue process to address these concerns and enhance the functioning of European Union institutions and social dialogue.

EDC stands as the voice of European dockworkers and port workers, representing over 15,000 individuals across 14 unions in 12 European countries. Solidarity and the defense of workers’ interests are the organization’s primary objectives.


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