In Greece, bilateral meetings with stakeholders’ group representatives were held during November 2015. More specifically, meetings took place at the Piraeus Port Authority SA, Thessaloniki Port Authority SA, Ministry of Merchant Marine, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance, the Association of Greek Ports (ELIME) and the Federation of Loaders and Unloaders of Greece (OFE).
In Greece there are three different structures of port workers. The first has to do with the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki in which the port workers have a permanent working relation with the Port Authority, operating type port entity that in the case of Piraeus the majority of the shareholding capital has been transferred to Cosco Group (Cosco Pacific), while in the case of Thessaloniki a similar tender is in progress. Port workers fall in two categories, i.e. equipment drivers, yard planners, warehouse personnel etc. are permanent employees of the Port Authority, while dockworkers are a special case of port employees with different status in Piraeus and Thessaloniki, respectively. Certain job profiles apply for equipment drivers/operators, foremen, and tallymen.
Job profiles are directly or indirectly referenced in the collective agreements.
In the case of PCT (Piraeus Container Terminal), which runs the Container Terminal of the Port of Piraeus and it is a subsidiary of the Cosco Pacific, there is an ad hoc labour regime and it is different than that of the two port authorities. The system is based on, mainly, subcontracting labour operations to a group of subcontractors, based on certain job profiles and service contractual arrangements, while a core of the workers are PCT employees.
All the other ports have a legal status that is governed by the law for loaders and unloaders, with local labour committees, acting as labour pools. Even in this case, equipment drivers are permanent port authorities’ employees.
Training is accomplished, mainly, through the initiative of the port authorities and PCT as port employers. Nevertheless, since the port system is under transition in Greece, it is anticipated that the training framework may change in the foreseeable future.
Training programs are either of scheduled, or ad hoc character.
Health and Safety issues are governed by the general law for health and safety in industrial activities.
The National Workshop in Germany took place at Ma-Co GmbH premises (the training institution for port workers) in Hamburg, on 20 November 2015.
The nature of this workshop was somewhat different compared to previous ones, as it was geared mostly towards presenting the scope and structure of the training programs offered by Ma-Co to the project partners. Some of the main outcomes of the detailed discussion were the following:
- Port worker definition is diverse in different countries. One of the specific issues related to this in Germany is that the lashing and mooring crew are not considered as port workers.
As for the impact of port industry trends:
- So far there hasn’t been a dramatic decrease in the number of jobs apart from decrease occurred in the 90s. However, the slow development of the global economy impacts port employment.
- Due to the size of the ships and number of necessary cranes, the number of crane drivers is not expected to decrease. Most of the terminals in Germany are van carrier terminals. When the yard productivity is concerned, one can expect a decrease on the number of van carrier drivers when shifting to stacking cranes.
- According to Maasvlakte II 80% of the jobs in the future will be IT related. One side of this includes TOS and the other side the productivity.
- The future port worker will be an IT person with a deep knowledge on the processes. Still the practical and old element will be the core. It should not be forgotten that to learn something takes time and this time should be allowed to the people.
As for training issues
- The future needs in the industry will not necessarily change the training style but bring the technology into the classroom.
- It is a question whether port workers are willing to get recognition for doing other jobs in the logistics chain. One reason is the high payment in their current occupation, the other reason is that it is very practical and hands on job, which might not be easily replaced.
- Although they are not considered as port worker, lashing companies ask for training for their crew and it is more about communication and leadership training.
- To make the training, especially on safety issues, attractive to the people who are resistant to training, mobile devices and games are planned to be integrated into the training system. Experienced people as trainers from the industry and case studies are also other options for his.
- Discipline is expected from the trainees during their work life as well. Therefore, distance learning could be too theoretical.
- One level of training is (was) the traditional way with simulators. Nowadays another level is more common, to train people on the crane itself.
- The number of classes and the fullness of classes are slowly but steadily decreasing. The qualification level in Hamburg and other ports is already high. A massive demand in the future is not expected.
- More flexibility is required from the operators in terms of work to be done and training, however this flexibility doesn’t apply to the tariffs.
- The health and safety priority list should be more elaborated and better communicated to the industry. Port workers are mostly trained in awareness of these issues.
As for H&S issues
- Radioactive containers category should better be replaced as IMDG containers.
- Although lashing crew is trained for safety issues, it is jeopardized by the nature of the job. When the workers are quicker, they are offered to be paid extra.