Palma's port will be affected by the strike action. | Archive

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Spanish dockworkers have called nine days of strikes to protest against government plans to allow ports to hire non-unionised labour. The strikes threaten to disrupt trade for up to three weeks from 6 March, which could cause serious problems for the Balearics where there is such a high dependence on merchant shipping.

Stevedores last week called off a planned three-day strike after the government said it would put its reforms on hold and open talks, but the decision to push ahead with a bigger strike came after the government signalled it would not change parts of the plan.

The proposals would allow companies operating in ports to hire staff that do not belong to unions, a move unpopular with union members but which would help bring Spain in line with European Union regulations. The nine days of stoppages across dozens of Spanish ports are scheduled to take place on alternate days, meaning disruptions could drag on for three weeks between 6 March and 24 March.

Negotiations between the unions and the government were set to continue. About two-thirds of Spain’s exports pass through the ports, which handle some 500 million tonnes of merchandise a year.