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Flexibility in Port Workforce

Flexibility in Port Workforce

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Published by Vitor Caldeirinha

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Published by: Vitor Caldeirinha on Jul 06, 2010
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10/24/2010

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Artigo Cargo Julho 2010Flexibility at Port WorkforceThe ESPO (European Sea Ports Organisation) has recently published with the supportof ITMMA (Institute of Transport and Maritime Managemente Antwerp), University of Antwerp a very important text on the port workforce in Europe as a key element of reform and competitiveness of ports , available at the organization.One of the key issues it addresses is the flexibility of labor as an essential tool for European ports more competitive by showing the diverse state in which they are the ports and countries on this matter.The increasing complexity of the relationship between demand and supply in the portsimply the need for greater flexibility of port labor in its various forms, which can be
 
encouraged with appropriate bonus:a) Flexibility of working hours - to move from passive flexibility with schedules taxesaccording to law, to an active flexibility giving more initiative to employees andemployers; b) Flexibility in the amount of workers - the possibility of adapting the workforce needsof the port, with the creation of pools of dock workers negotiated and the possibility of recourse to temporary employment agencies in case of need;c) Flexibility of tasks and functions - bet on multi-skills in cross-training and multi-functionality of the port work, facilitating mobility between functions and tasks and between terminals, avoiding lack of workers on a task when there is excess in another;d) Flexibility in shifts and teams - Ability to affect the employee to the team where it ismost needed, on changes of elements between teams and ships in the same turn, changethe composition and size of the teams within the legal limits and related human productivity;It has to be noted that greater productivity and flexibility of workmanship port must beaccompanied by higher wages, as defined in the Danish model of flexicurity. Whenthere are high wages in a port, but the productivity and flexibility are reduced, the port
 
faces a serious competitive disadvantage.Apart from the costs of stevedoring, many are the costs of the inefficiencies of manpower in certain ports port:
 
a) shortage of workers leading to peaks in the waiting costs of ships or lower yields; b) lack of training and damage caused to the loads that cause costs of productivity or reputation of the port;c) isolated or prolonged strikes, which cause high costs for ports and for the economy;d) high rate of accidents due to lack of training or fatigue;e) absenteeism of employees already assigned to duties;f) failure in communication between the vessel and the stevedoring company or equipment failure.Large number of European ports require that only workers registered to work on thedocks, by imposition of the state, the Port Authority or agreements between companiesand unions. The reform of this issue usually involves a great deal of opposition fromtrade unions, which can be considered a limitation on freedom of movement for workerswithin the EU itself.In some ports, port is limited to loading and unloading ships in the port area, while inothers it also includes the logistics operations processed on the ground after parking andunloading of cargo or for shipment. Antwerp was created a special category of portworkers with lower salary, to carry out logistical operations.A variety of classification of port workers can be observed in European ports, butgenerally involves three elements:a) permanent employees with an employment contract with stevedoring companies; b) workers employed by registered (s) "pool (s)" port, used by companies as a primarysource of human resources;c) temporary workers who receive a minimum remuneration to be waiting for the peaks.The schemes to reduce the precariousness of manpower port differ in two ways:a) the power of trade unions "in fact" to choose and control the allocation of work to port workers; b) and the sources and income levels of workers who are registered without working outthe peaks.In some cases, workers in a period without work receive income from the pool or the

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