The 80,000-strong Japanese Dock Workers' Union have decided on an indefinite walk-out from some 90 ports starting May 9, to back their demands for monthly wage increases of more than 17,000 yen (approximately 24 pounds sterling).
GV PAN Ships in harbour
GV & SV PAN Ships docked (2 shots)
MV Container being moved (2 shots)
SV & CU Stacked containers (4 shots)
GV Vehicles awaiting export
SV ZOOM OUT TO LV Freighter at dockside
GV & SV Ships in harbour (3 shots)
Initials ESP/0050 ESP/0107
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Background: The 80,000-strong Japanese Dock Workers' Union have decided on an indefinite walk-out from some 90 ports starting May 9, to back their demands for monthly wage increases of more than 17,000 yen (approximately 24 pounds sterling).
Following an earlier 72-hour walk-out at the end of last month the Union have rejected the latest management offer of 13,500 yen (approximately 19 pounds sterling).
The 72 hours walk-out temporarily paralysed loading and unloading operations across the country. It was timed to coincide with Japan's annual "Spring Labour Offensive" -- a planned series of labour strikes, "go-slows", and walk-outs which is the traditional tactic of Japanese workers in their annual battle for wage increases.
If the May strike proves to be a prolonged battle with the management, the consequences could be very similar to those of the three-month strike by Japan's mercantile marine seamen last year. Hundreds of vessels could be left unhanded around Japanese ports, and imports and exports could virtually come to a halt as products and merchandise are left untouched on the docksides or in ships' holds.
Last year, when trade officials took a count-up towards the end of the three-month seamen's strike, they estimated that 2,300,000 tons of export and import goods had been held up. That strike was the worst in Japan's history, and it cost shipowners an estimated 50,000 million yen (62.5 million pounds sterling).