EU-PORTRAItS moves forward with the celebration of 7 national workshops on portworkers' training, challenges & needs

During the second semester of the year (September - November 2015) seven national workshops with social partners took place. The analysis of the training profiles at national level, in terms of training practices and future training needs, were presented and discussed among the key national stakeholders.

The general aim of the workshops was to create a forum for discussion with national stakeholders and the exchange of information and ideas.

The Workshops were planned as a 1 to 3-day events. They were all conducted and coordinated by the two EU-PORTRAItS experts, Mr. Marios Meletiou and Mr. Sotirios Theofanis, together with the local EU-PORTRAItS Partners and the Coordinating Partner, CERTH-HIT.

A summary of the first workshop, held in Cyprus in September 2015 is presented below.

Information on the rest of workshops in succesive blog entries.

CYPRUS

The Cypriot workshop was held at Poseidonia Beach Hotel (Limassol) on 9-10 September 2015.

The workshop was attended by 15 stakeholder representatives, from the Cyprus Ports Authority, the Ministry of Labour, Cyprus Shipping Association, United Stevedoring, and labour unions.

The workshop was the first of the series of seven that were planned within the context of the project.

In terms of port labor organization, it was reported that there is an intermediate regulator body on behalf of the government, the bureau of labor. Historically, the structure comes from the national dock labour scheme in the UK. Formal job profiles are introduced at national level, a combination of collective agreements and law.

In terms of training, systematic training is provided only to specific groups of workforce. The groups receiving training include stevedores, LLPA porters who are actually port workers for intra-terminal operations (this group will be abolished and will be substituted by personnel related in some way to the terminal operator), crane drivers, warehouse employees and lashers. Lashers are a small group of self-employed workers, hired by individual shipping agents on behalf of the carrier.

1. CyprusRegarding training paths and port training institutions, it was noted that segregation of the workforce is one of the problems in port workers’ training. There are freelancers, semi-free lancers and workers employed by others and as such the responsibility and organization of proper training is problematic. Training programs in Cyprus are mostly scheduled. H&S training is offered, based on the legislation for H&S.

Regarding training techniques employed, it was mentioned that theoretical training sessions are also available for the stevedores. In terms of H&S training structures, there are two aspects, one related to safe working and the other related to responding in case of emergency.

Port training priorities include safety (on handling loads, crane use, etc.); use of new technology; equal training for all categories of port workers, whether they are employed by CSA or by CPA, in order to cooperate effectively and have similar understanding of the work issues. A generic and unified module of training must exist and then, other specialized training must be specified according to the specific job profiles.

There is currently no knowledge on how advanced the equipment and the processes of the potential future concessionaire will be. Whether for example operations will evolve to a conventional terminal operation, to an advanced stacking system, or to a semi-automated/fully automated system. Today, traffic in Cyprus ports is very low and accidents are very rare. If Cyprus becomes a transshipment center it will face increased traffic issues.

Back on issues affecting Cyprus ports, the most typical H&S issue, especially noted in Limassol, is workers not applying the appropriate measures for personal protection. In addition, there is a general mentality during handling of containers, to ignore or to misinterpret minor incidents. It is difficult to assess the reason for small collisions or near misses, which in most cases do not cause an injury or threaten safety of personnel, and in most cases they are not even reported.

Other problems that were mentioned are related with infrastructure or improper design of the container terminals, especially regarding the proximity of passenger areas to the loading and unloading operations. Another issue is related to traffic control and signage. The issue of different types of traffic crossing over to each other is a problem faced in several terminals, not only in Cyprus. This matter actually falls within the priority agenda of the SDC.

The importance of establishing a proper channel of communication for reporting incidents was highlighted. A procedure was introduced recently (about 2 years ago) in Limassol, according to which whoever is involved in an accident needs to contact the safety officer and report it, using a standardized form.

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