Companies, unions and the Port Authority demonstrate their commitment to the stability and competitiveness of the Port of Bilbao
Representatives of Bilboestiba, stevedoring companies, trade unions and the Port Authority of Bilbao affirmed today, in the presence of numerous representatives of the logistics-port community, cargo companies and institutions, their firm commitment to the stability and competitiveness of the Port of Bilbao, after the signing of the new collective handling agreement for the next six years. During a working breakfast organized this morning in Bilbao, all the players involved insisted on the commitment of their respective organizations to flexibility, efficiency, productivity and guaranteed service in port operations.
Ricardo Barkala, president of the Port Authority of Bilbao; Elvira Gallego, President of the Board of Directors of Bilboestiba CPE; José Manuel Guardo, general manager of Bilboestiba CPE; Iñaki Urueña, representative of Coordinadora Bilbao; and Israel Ruiz, representative of the UGT for stevedoring, all very positively appreciated the new chapter that opened in the port of Bilbao after the signing of the stevedoring agreement, and all agreed that “the tensions and disagreements have been banished once and for all”.
“The agreement represents a significant change in the situation of the port, and was made possible thanks to the generosity and open-mindedness of the parties involved, who knew how to overcome prejudices and make compromises”, declared the General Manager of Bilboestiba CPE, who highlighted “the valuable contribution of the Port Authority of Bilbao as a mediator and facilitator of agreements”. “The fact that the agreement is in force for a period of six years provides an extraordinary and unprecedented level of stability in the Spanish port system”, added José Manuel Guardo.
For their part, the representatives of the Coordinadora and the UGT expressed their interest in “leaving the past behind them and talking about the future”. After pointing out that the agreement enjoys the support of 75% of the workforce, Iñaki Urueña and Israel Ruiz both underlined “the enormous effort made to break the impasse and create a climate of confidence” between employers and workers. “It’s not the deal we would ideally have wanted,” they noted, “but we’re signing it because the Port needs certainty.”
Later, the Chairman of the Bilboestiba CPE Board of Directors highlighted the “operational agility, efficiency, productivity, flexibility and service guarantee” that the new agreement foresees for port operations. “The logic of solvency, continuity and predictability has imposed itself as something natural and evident on a daily basis”, she added, “and current and future customers must know that they can count on the full availability of human and material resources to provide a service in the best possible conditions”. Elvira Gallego also alluded to the positive effects of the new scenario in terms of “restoring the reputation of the Port of Bilbao and its ability to compete in advantageous conditions to attract traffic”.
The president of the Port Authority of Bilbao, Ricardo Barkala, first conveyed “the recognition and gratitude of the entire port community for the agreement signed, which shows the foresight of the signatory companies and unions, and which demanded the ability to make significant concessions from individual initial negotiating approaches and positions, with the common goal of making agreement possible and enabling social peace”.
Barkala stressed that “there was no alternative to the conclusion of this agreement, the only other result would have been a disaster, seriously jeopardizing the port activity and the associated employment. Moreover, and even if the agreement was signed by the workers’ representatives who held a comfortable majority, namely the Coordinadora and UGT unions, this agreement was a necessary and transversal achievement, which will have shared effects for all, for handling companies and for all workers, even if some of their representatives have not signed it, but also and above all for the rest of port agents and operators”.
The president of the Port Authority of Bilbao also highlighted the fact that the agreement was signed for an initial period of six years. “This type of stability over time is unprecedented in the recent history of the Port of Bilbao. At present, no other port in Spain can boast of having such a stable and long-term labor agreement in a sector as critical as this. In fact, what was once seen as a negative differentiator has now become something positive, something that sets us apart as a benchmark, a very valuable asset that will allow us to reposition ourselves on the supply chain maps. and that paves the way for a strong and stable recovery”. “For the first time in many decades,” he added, “the Port of Bilbao stevedoring service is united, with a common line of work, in tune and with a roadmap for the future. . By working together and as one, I have no doubt that we will be able to take advantage of this important window of opportunity, with the common objective of optimizing the sector and achieving the best port possible”.
Finally, Mr. Barkala asked companies and customers who have decided to leave the port of Bilbao following social unrest, to reconsider their decision. “The scenario has now shifted to a scenario of stability and productivity. Trust the Port of Bilbao! We assure you that the port and its community will not let you down”.
Source: Bilbao Port Authority