Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Australian Wharfies at "War" with DP World

Australia’s Fair Work Commission has issued a temporary order prohibiting global stevedoring giant - DP World - from forcing wharfies to do the work of linesmen in Melbourne.
The work of linesmen in Melbourne is currently performed by external mooring providers as the work is separate and dangerous from the work of wharfies, says Australia’s maritime union, the MUA. 
DP World wants to force wharfies to do the jobs of linesmen. The MUA argued that this would destroy scores of linesmen jobs and was outside the scope of the enterprise bargaining agreement.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said DP World’s attempt was nothing more than a profit grab from a company that was far from struggling.
“Linesmen’s lives will be destroyed as mooring work flows to the big stevedores and ultimately families will be destroyed by this greedy global terminal operator.”
“Wharfies, seafarers and port workers are standing together and fighting DP World’s greed. We are escalating our campaign and will not stop on this issue till mooring work is safe and is unequivocally performed by linesmen.”
DP World has stopped its push for mooring in Sydney and Fremantle at this stage. “There have been big struggles with wharfies at DP World standing up and fighting back. Workers at DP World have made it clear in no uncertain terms they don’t want this work and they don’t want to put their mates out of a job. Workers have hit the streets in opposition to the company's attack and breaching of their agreement,” says Smith.
Jodie Dale, a linesman at Ausport Marine, is appealing to fellow workers to stand with her to protect her job and the jobs of hundreds of her workmates.
“These jobs are the livelihoods of many, many people. Without it you have got a lot of men and women that are going to be out of work,” Dale said.
The DP World enterprise bargaining agreement with the MUA was signed off five months ago, and the company is seeking to change work practices that were clearly part of the industrial negotiation, says the MUA.
Smith said it was disingenuous of DP World to try and force changes to the workplace on items that had been raised but not agreed upon during enterprise bargaining agreement discussions.
THE MUA has signalled that it will continue to fight for the rights of wharfies and the jobs of linesmen.

Reach Stacker / ECH Accidents..........

Maersk Warns Against U.S. Protectionism


The M/V Elly Maersk, an A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S container ship loaded with containers, departs the APM Terminal at the Port of Rotterdam, in The Netherlands. Photographer: Jock Fistick/Bloomberg
by Christian Wienberg (Bloomberg) A. P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, a Danish conglomerate that owns the world’s largest container shipping company, is voicing concern as a potential shift in U.S. policy threatens to reduce global trade.
While Maersk assumes that no matter how the U.S. presidential election ends, it probably “won’t have an effect on the contracts we have and the employment exposure we have in the U.S.,” Trond Westlie, its chief financial officer, said any steps in a more protectionist direction would clearly hurt global economic growth.

“In general, trade barriers weaken global growth,” Westlie said in a phone interview on Friday. “Low trade barriers not only help trade growth, but also economic growth.”
 With real-estate-magnate-turned-politician Donald Trump blaming China and Mexico for American job losses, the tone in the U.S. presidential race is more anti-trade than it’s been in decades. Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton is also toughening her stance on globalization, and has criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership for failing to do enough to support American jobs. Trump has gone so far as to call the pact a “disaster” for the U.S.
Westlie declined to comment on either candidate or on any specific elements in their proposals as they vie for the presidency.
The World Bank has identified trade as a key means to fight poverty. But since the global financial crisis, cross-border commerce has slowed, and in a report this year, the World Trade Organization estimated that trade grew less than 3 percent for a fifth consecutive year. It cited the “threat of creeping protectionism as many governments continue to apply trade restrictions,” in an April 7 report. Trade growth will reach 3.6 percent next year, compared with a 5 percent average since 1990, according to the WTO.
Maersk transports about 15 percent of the manufactured goods that are sent across the globe each year, making it the world’s biggest container shipping line.
“Trade barriers should be reduced as much as possible,” Westlie said. “That opinion stands whether we’re talking about Brexit or the U.S., but also for tariffs in Africa or South America, for example. So it counts for all countries, not just individual ones.”
©2016 Bloomberg News

Monday, 29 August 2016

UK economic indicators defy Brexit fears

 A survey of manufacturers reported a rise in exports to their highest level in two years. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Britain appears to be bouncing back from the post-Brexit panic in better shape than expected, after a string of indicators showed growth across the manufacturing sector, the building industry and in consumer spending.
A survey of manufacturers reported a rise in exports to their highest level in two years. Persimmon, Britain’s biggest housebuilder, said customers were flocking back to view new build homes. And grocers enjoyed a 0.3% rise in sales in the 12 weeks to 14 August, the best performance since March.
Nicholas Wrigley, Persimmon’s chairman, said that while the result of the EU referendum had created increased uncertainty, the news was quickly digested by customers. 
“Customer interest since then has been robust with a strengthening of visitor numbers to our sites compared to the same period last year,” he said.
Economists have revised their pessimistic forecasts for the rest of the year and 2017 following a run of figures showing only a modest dip and steady rise in activity since the June 23 vote.
Pro-Brexit campaigners have taken these figures as a sign that the warnings of an economic collapse after a no vote were alarmist and misleading.
However, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at financial data provider IHS Markit, said the bounceback was mostly the result of a “huge policy response” from the Bank of England and the Treasury.
“You can’t say that everyone who was ringing the alarm bells over Brexit was scare mongering because really it was the warnings that triggered those strong policy actions,” he said.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney said in June policymakers would consider radical action to avert a recession and in August pushed through a cut in interest rates and a £40bn boost to quantitative easing (QE).
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, who rebuffed calls for an emergency budget, has also hinted strongly that the government’s previous plans for budget cuts could be relaxed
Williamson said that without steep falls in the purchasing manager indices (PMIs) of activity in manufacturing, construction and services for July, collated by IHS Markit, it is possible the economy would have sleepwalked into a recession.
“If the PMIs hadn’t fallen off a cliff, the BoE wouldn’t have cut interest rates and expanded QE,” he added.
The survey by the business lobby group the CBI of manufacturers found that the dive in sterling, prompted by the vote to leave the EU, gave a strong boost to exports of manufactured goods that offset uncertainty in the domestic market.
Total order books were slightly weaker in the three months to August compared with the quarter to the end of July, down from a balance of -4 to -5, the report said.
But the overall picture was of an industry with orders that remained “comfortably above the long-run average”, according to the CBI, with output growth at a healthy pace.
The main shadow on the horizon was a concern that rising import costs would squeeze profitability. The average prices that manufacturers expected to charge over the next three months rose to +8 in August from +5 in July, their highest since February 2015.
Paul Hollingsworth, a UK economist at Capital Economics, said the relatively upbeat tone of August’s survey gave another reason to be tentatively optimistic about the referendum’s impact on business.
“The latest survey is another reason to think that the economy should avoid a deep recession,” he said.
British supermarket sales were boosted in August by the belated arrival of warm summer weather and a gold tinged Olympics feelgood factor, giving the best performance since March, according to Kantar Worldpanel. 
The market analysis firm said sales of ice-cream and lollies jumped by nearly a quarter in the last month of that period, while chilled drinks rose by 10% as Brits sought to cool off.
The performance marks a bounceback from supermarkets’ worst performance in two years in July when cold, damp weather hit sales in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Discounters Aldi and Lidl continued to outperform the rest of the market with sales up 10.4% and 12.2% respectively. All the big four major supermarkets saw sales fall back, with Asda the worst of the bunch as sales fell 5.5%. Tesco achieved its best performance in 18 months but sales still fell by 0.4% taking its market share to 28.1%.
The building industry suffered a share price slump ahead of the Brexit vote and in the week following. But Persimmon said trading since 23 June had been strong and that after a short period of wariness, customer interest had increased from a year earlier.
However, after Persimmon’s upbeat first half results and outlook its shares closed up 4.2% and other house builders were also among the biggest FTSE 100 risers, with Barratt rising 4.9%, Taylor Wimpey 4% and Berkeley Group 3.9%.
Along with other housebuilders, Persimmon’s shares fell after the referendum result amid fears that falling consumer confidence and an economic slowdown would dent the housing market. Countrywide, Britain’s biggest estate agent, predicted this week that average prices would fall 1% next year before rising again.

Port Of Felixstowe Photos From The Past

The Night Shift: Capitalism’s Silent Killer

Millions work night shifts to satisfy the capitalist system’s around-the-clock drive for profits, which poses a serious threat to the health of night workers. Time for a fight back to reclaim the daylight and our health.

Around 15 million workers in the US do some sort of night work— either a rotating, second, (evening) or graveyard (midnight) shift. About one fifth of the working population works at least 48 hours per week and an additional 7 percent work 60 hours or more. Irregular schedules and excessive overtime have a disruptive effect on workers’ sleep habits, diet and family lives. The overall negative health effects are demonstrable.
There are few protections against shift work and excessive overtime. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard offers no specific protection against night shifts. The few protections that exist are mainly included in union contracts. Unionization in the US is at a very low rate of 11.1 percent of the workforce, about 14.8 million workers, down from about 20 percent (more than 17 million workers) in 1983. The public sector rate of unionization is just over 35 percent and in the private sector union membership is at 6.7 percent. The protections offered by union contracts are often restricted to language governing wage rates – offering some sort of pay differential for shift work.
For those workers without union protection, the night shift may not offer any extra pay. For instance, the stocking crews at Walmart, often subcontracted through employment agencies like Manpower, Inc., will make at or just over the minimum wage. 
It is difficult to get statistics on how many people work night shifts worldwide or on the conditions these workers are forced to endure. In the developed countries, 15 to 20 percent of the working population work other than a regular day shift. In Britain, more than 3 million work nights, increasingly women workers who are often in low wage home care work or in nursing. In Canada, 4.1 million workers work some form of night shift. Women are about 37 percent of full-time night workers.
It is safe to say that millions work under harsh conditions, and with few protections, in sweatshops all over the globe. The burden often falls on women. In export processing zones (epz) in developing countries which are dominated by low-skill manufacturing, the workforce is about 80 percent women.
In China, for example, at a factory that produces the Apple iPhone 6, workers making $1.85 per hour regularly work 12 hour shifts 6-7 days per week and are forced to live in filthy conditions in crowded dormitories.
“…Apple refuses to do what’s necessary to ensure workers who make that success possible are treated fairly and work in safe environments…We can only conclude that Apple pursues profit maximization for itself and its shareholders no matter the lives of people making Apple products." http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iphone-6s-factory-investigation-reveals-apple-still-violates-human-rights-workers-1525151

Who works nights?

Night shift, either evening (second) or graveyard (overnight), workers are in health care, manufacturing, chemical processing, construction, transport (trucking, railroads and public transit), retail, food service, and janitorial work.
The negative health effects of night work, due to the disruption of sleep patterns and diet, can lead to depression, increased risk of cancer, heart attack, diabetes, metabolic disruption, irregular digestion, and accidents due to fatigue and inattention. Working night shift for long periods has been shown to lower cognitive function and shorten life expectancy. According to some studies, workers who had worked about 10 years of night shift had severe loss of memory and reasoning ability; compared to day workers, their brains had aged an extra six years. About 20 percent of serious car wrecks are linked to driver fatigue.
Michael Hastings, a professor at Cambridge University says, “All our organs are running to this pre-programmed genetic pattern to make them do certain things at one time of day and different things at another.” Studies have shown that most people do not adapt to a night schedule. Rotating shifts, where workers move periodically from day to night, are actually worse than a regular night shift, in spite of claims by bosses that these types of shifts are fairer. 
Marxism and the night shift
Marx, writing in Capital, Volume I, addressed the question of night shifts:
“The prolongation of the working-day beyond the limits of the natural day, into the night, only acts as a palliative. It quenches only in a slight degree the vampire thirst for the living blood of labour. To appropriate labor during all the 24 hours of the day is, therefore, the inherent tendency of capitalist production. But as it is physically impossible to exploit the same individual labour-power constantly during the night as well as the day, to overcome this physical hindrance, an alternation becomes necessary between the work people whose powers are exhausted by day, and those who are used up by night. (…) This 24 hours’ process of production exists today as a system in many of the branches of industry of Great Britain that are still ‘free,’ in the blast-furnaces, forges, plate-rolling mills, and other metallurgical establishments in England, Wales, and Scotland. The working-time here includes, besides the 24 hours of the 6 working-days, a great part also of the 24 hours of Sunday. The workers consist of men and women, adults and children of both sexes. The ages of the children and young persons run through all intermediate grades, from 8 (in some cases from 6) to 18.”

Workers in power restrict night work

The Paris Commune abolished night work for bakery workers, who had been struggling for two years previous to the establishment of the Commune. Three thousand bakers had marched on the Hotel de Ville to present their demands. Auguste-Jean-Marie Vermorel, a socialist Communard, declared, “It would be against all justice and all human rights to allow a particular class of workers to be separated from society in the interests of the aristocracy of the stomach.” — The Paris Commune: A Revolution in Democracy, Donny Gluckstein, p. 17
The Bolsheviks abolished night shift for women, except in cases of “extreme necessity,” but by the time of the fall of the USSR, the ban was not enforced and it was estimated that 3.8 million women workers were working night shifts. In fact, 3 times more Soviet women, many of them industrial workers, worked night shifts than men. — Soviet Workers and the Collapse of Perestroika: The Soviet Labour Process, Donald Filtzer, p. 173
Modern capitalism, with its drive for profits, requires a workforce that is available for exploitation 24-7. The capitalist is not inclined to let expensive plant and equipment sit idle. The profit-making mechanism must function around the clock. Socialists and the labor movement must question the necessity of night shifts. How can they be minimized and made less stressful on workers? How would a socialist society approach night shifts? Certainly, the preservation of gains, like the elimination of night shift, depends on the greatest possible workers control of the means of production and on the establishment of a system of socialist democracy.

Struggle gets the goods

In 2012, South Korean auto workers at Kia and Hyundai won the elimination of night shifts after a strike. It’s clear that night shifts are not in the interests of working people. Our unions must go beyond negotiation wage differentials and work to limit and, as much as possible, eliminate night work. Of course, some professions, like health care and emergency services, are necessary around the clock, but there are ways to offset the burden by shortening the work day with no loss in pay, the automation of some processes, and increasing the number of workers on shifts. The health of workers should also be closely monitored in order to help stave off the worst health problems.
Winning the elimination of night shifts will require struggle along with the reconstruction of a class-struggle wing in the unions at both the rank and file and leadership level. After decades of a one-sided class war waged against workers, an independent fight back is needed both in the streets and at the ballot box. Victory will depend on the ability of the unions to break their subordination to the bosses and the Democratic Party.
John Leslie is a construction worker who works night shifts.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

European Gateway Sinking Off Felixstowe - Old Pics / News Of The Salvage

 Thanks to Raymond Gamble for this collection and also to Stuart Frith for taking the pics

It just kept on going. Brooklyn, New York 1976!

Don Dash was one of the men on that trolley. He jumped in the water to try and save his friend who went out the windshield of the crane while they were de-icing the rails. It was winter at 39th street terminal and water was freezing.

Gantry Cranes Facebook

MV Meri spotted enroute London with strad carriers

MV Meri spotted enroute London.
Friday 19th of August we made an aerial report for the Finnish Cargo ship MERI loaded by 6 x Kalmar HSH250 hybrid shuttle carriers for London Gateway terminal and 14 pc of ESC450 Straddle Carriers for MPET terminals in Antwerp. Hybrid shuttle carriers are designed to work around automated stacking cranes for London Gateway. 
MeriAura's (www.meriaura.fi/en ) special purpose vessel 'Meri' is known to be the first cargo ship of this size, which is able to use 100% bio-oil. Vessel has 1610 m3 deck strengthened for heavy cargoes, DP1 and finnish-swedish ice class 1A with Aker Arctic DASTM double acting ship. Vessel is built 2012 by STX Finland