Sunday, 14 October 2018

Bankruptcy - A part of the struggle to break the harbour workers in Norway!



I have been asked to post this by Svein Lundeng and Dockers Hangarounds on behalf of the Norway Dockers

The unloading and loading office in Ålesund is bankrupt.
13 out of 18 port workers are already in work in their own newly established company.
Monday, September 24, the announcement was received that the Administration Office for Port Work in Ålesund was bankrupt. Leader of Ålesund Losse & Trucking Association, Bjørn Steffensen, admits that the message arrived surprisingly early.
Did not go fast enough
"We have had a dialogue with the owners that the port workers should take over the company, but we demanded that they either pay off the debt that was in the company before or that it was continued until the debt was repaid. Obviously, it did not happen soon enough for the owners who would be bankrupt, "says Steffensen.
He estimates debt to around 1.7 million kroner.

- The port workers offered to spend 400,000 kroner on the table if the owners took the rest. We have also tried to keep the expenses to a minimum, including taking an unpaid day off every other week. Over the last three months, we have incurred around $ 100,000 in profit, despite the fact that prices for our services have not been adjusted upwards as a result of the price increase. Both of us who are employee representatives in the board and general manager have asked for prices to increase, but in the past ten years it has happened only twice, he explains.
Will be used by almost everyone
However, on Friday, September 28th, the port company's own company, Ålesund Port and Terminal Services AS, was established with its own organization number in Brønnøysund Registers.(National Company Registers)

"Had we been told before, we could have things in place already when the company was bankrupt," says Steffensen.
Already at the start, there are enough jobs for 13 of the 18 port workers who were affiliated with the bankruptcy and warehouse office that is now bankrupt. Steffensen believes, however, that there will be work for the last five and well before Christmas.
"Apart from Samskip who has refused to use us for over a year, and now tries to lure the other operators to come to Samskip's terminal and be unloaded and loaded by the seafarers on board, the others say they will continue to use us. In addition, we have received signals that there will be a bigger job already from mid-December, which will probably provide work to both the last five employees and the custodians we use, "he says.
- An advantage to us
Ålesund Harbor and Terminal Services AS is also wholly owned by the Losse and Load Workers Association in Ålesund. It would not have been possible earlier, since the now agreed tariff agreements defined that unloading and loading offices should be established jointly between the port operators and the unloading and unloading associations.
Following the Holship judgment, the newly established Port and Terminal Agreement has no requirement for such joint establishment of unloading and loading offices. Thus, you are free to establish such offices if you wish.
"There are the pros and cons of everything. Just this is an advantage for us now, Steffensen smiles.


Long Timeframe
That advantage hopes Steffensen can contribute to safe workplaces over a long period of time.
"This company is formed to create a good workplace with good pay and working conditions for the harbor workers. Therefore, we will try to keep prices at a level that will allow operators to use us for a long time to come. At that time, port workers in Ålesund will have a job for many, many years, he says.
However, investors can stay away.
- The articles of association state that the shares can not be sold unless all employees in the company say yes to a sale. It is neither the board nor me who is listed as the general manager, decide alone, says Bjørn Steffensen.
Bankruptcy also in Stavanger: - A part of the struggle to break the harbor workers.





The day after the unloading and loading office in Ålesund was bankrupt, Stavanger followed. This means that six port workers and an office worker are out of work.
Monday last week, the Administrative Office for Harbor Work in Ålesund was bankrupt. As a consequence, 18 port workers at Sunnmøre lost their workplace.
However, it did not take many days before the port workers themselves had started up their own company, Ålesund Port and Terminal Company AS, established so that most of the port workers could continue in their jobs as before.
Permanent payment disability
However, it was not the only bankruptcy Norwegian harbor workers had to deal with last week. On Tuesday, the Stavanger Losse and Load Office was bankrupt. According to Dagsavisen Roganytt, it is stated in the ruling from Stavanger District Court that:
"Stavanger Losse og Lastekontor has requested his residence under the court's treatment as a bankruptcy estate. It appears that the statement has been decided by the members - who are also the employees. The office does not have a board, and the court finds in the information provided that the members must be considered competent to decide on a tender. The request meets the formal requirements of the bankruptcy act. "
The District Court also considered that there were no means for the company to meet its financial obligations in the future and that the payment difficulties were not of a transient nature.
Got salary in September
This confirms the chairman of the Rogaland Transport Workers' Union, Inge Vidar Lone, who has assisted the harbor workers in Stavanger in connection with the bankruptcy.
After the employers pulled out of the unloading and loading office a few years ago, the port workers have maintained their operations on their own, but it has become more difficult and harder.
After salaries was paid in September, there was no more money in the company to further pay. Thus it became bankrupt, says Lone.
He does not hide the fact that the office could go on if there was a desire among port operators to use port workers.
"I see this as part of the struggle to break the harbor workers in Norway," says Inge Vidar Lone.
Seven are hit
According to the head of the Rogaland Transport Workers' Union, Inge Vidar Lone, there are six port workers and an office worker who are affected by bankruptcy at Stavanger Loose and Load Office.
The seven who are affected must now apply for the wage guarantee fund for funds to cover salary during the termination period.
The first meeting in the district court is scheduled for 1 November.



An injury to one is an injury to all!

Solidarity with the dockers!

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