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Union celebrates after superport breakthrough
6:10am Tuesday 24th December 2013 in Echo News
A TRADE union fighting for recognition at the new £1.5billion superport, London Gateway, is celebrating a breakthrough.
Unite, which mainly represents industrial workers and is one of the biggest unions in the UK, has signed an agreement with DP World, which owns London Gateway port. This will give the group access to workers there.
That, in turn, could lead to Unite becoming the port’s recognised union.
Port owners up until now had refused to formally recognise a union.
A bitter spat has taken place between port and union bosses, which saw campaigners jump on Boris Johnson’s car as he left the facility after a visit in July.
The Echo understands the gamechanger was the support Unite received from the Spanish dock workers union, which refused to work on any ship due to dock at London Gateway.
That posed a threat to business at the port, which welcomed its first ship last month.
Vince Passfield, deputy regional secretary of Unite’s London and Eastern region, said: “We are cautiously optimistic as the campaign enters this new phase.”
Mike Le-Surf, Labour’s South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary candidate, said: “As a firm supporter of union recognition in the workplace, I hope this is the beginning of a process that will support workers at the port for many years to come and bring more local jobs to the area.”
But Thurrock MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, criticised the union’s tactics, having previously called them “bullies”.
She said: “I hope this will herald a rather less militant stance than has been taken by Unite hitherto.
“Ultimately, it is up to the workers to choose their union.
Unite should not think it has the right to be the recognised union there.”
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