The permanent commission of Spain’s Congress of Deputies has given its approval to the royal decree law put forward by the government to complete reform of the stevedoring sector.
José Luis Ábalos, minister of public works, said the aim is "to achieve a sector in which we have an open market, with freedom to hire professional workers as well as trained and effective personnel in order to have competitive ports".
The deputy leader of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Rafael Simancas, noted that the government has regulated stevedoring “in accordance with EU regulations, and with a social consensus”, adding that both employers and trade unions are in agreement.
According to the government, the royal decree, which was originally adopted in May 2017, makes profound changes to stevedoring by establishing freedom of contracting, instead of stevedore provision remaining in the hands of Sociedades Anónimas de Gestión de Estibadores Portuarios (SAGEP), which stevedores were part of.
New legislation will provide for mandatory subrogation for those workers who leave SAGEP, allowing them to retain existing employment rights.
The highly-controversial new Centros Portuarios de Empleo will be allowed to replace SAGEP in providing temporary workers.
The government of Pedro Sánchez wants to see this entire process completed before elections, which are due to take place on 28 April 2019.