Row erupts over superport's union recognition

A UNION says it is concerned about wages and working conditions at the new £1.5billion superport.

Unite said the refusal of London Gateway – the new deep-sea container port being built in the Thames estuary – to recognise the union will mean a race to the bottom in terms of employment conditions.

The largest union in the country said recognition will reinforce health and safety issues.

But DP World said it wants to give employees a choice rather than pre-determining membership of a particular union. London Gateway is due to open later this year and is already recruiting for its 2,500-strong workforce.

Jane Jeffery, Unite regional officer, said: “We have held a number of meetings with Gateway’s management and they are clear they will not be recognising a trade union prior to the port opening.

“We call on them to rethink this stance.

“Union recognition has proved to be vital in promoting health and safety issues in workplaces across the UK – the fact DP World does not want to recognise Unite does not auger well in what remains one of the UK’s most dangerous industries.

“This is doubly worrying given that the Government is trying to whittle down health and safety regulations.”

A spokesman for DP World said membership of any union would be down to their employees and it takes health and safety seriously.

He said: “We have responded that membership of any union, including Unite, would be a free choice matter for London Gateway employees to decide upon and if membership of one or more unions reached the level where recognition was applicable then we would be happy to do so.

“In terms of health and safety, DP World puts safety as its number one priority.

“We are not in any way against union membership and we strongly believe in freedom of choice for all staff.

“We are very happy to discuss this matter with any party.”

Comments (3)

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10:43am Wed 13 Feb 13

PoorFleet says...

'Union recognition has proved to be vital in promoting health and safety issues in workplaces across the UK' - as well as promoting bully boy tactics that cripple industry and ensure Joe Public is held to ransom.
'Union recognition has proved to be vital in promoting health and safety issues in workplaces across the UK' - as well as promoting bully boy tactics that cripple industry and ensure Joe Public is held to ransom. PoorFleet

11:12am Wed 13 Feb 13

ebagumtrebor says...

This port has been unanimously welcomed by the current Labour run Thurrock council, businesses, The Labour party nationally and the current government. Yet the hard left unions see it as nothing but a threat that has to be stamped on before it has even opened. These are the same unions that will be running the Labour party if they are elected after the next election. What hope will this country have of ever getting out of recession when these dinosaurs are running the country in 2015. Labour will promote growth, yeah right.
This port has been unanimously welcomed by the current Labour run Thurrock council, businesses, The Labour party nationally and the current government. Yet the hard left unions see it as nothing but a threat that has to be stamped on before it has even opened. These are the same unions that will be running the Labour party if they are elected after the next election. What hope will this country have of ever getting out of recession when these dinosaurs are running the country in 2015. Labour will promote growth, yeah right. ebagumtrebor

10:38pm Wed 13 Feb 13

A Dermot says...

Why should a single union have the monopoly at a place of work? Surely it is upto the staff to decide which union they want to join.
Why should a single union have the monopoly at a place of work? Surely it is upto the staff to decide which union they want to join. A Dermot

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