✍️ SIGN: Call on Svitzer to stop attacking tug workers

Kasper Nilaus, CEO of Svitzer & Søren Skou, CEO of AP Moller-Maersk

Stand in solidarity with tug workers against Svitzer

Companies like Svitzer are driving a race to the bottom in the tug sector. We know that tug workers and their families are paying the price of aggressive employer tactics like Svitzer’s.

Longer hours. Lower pay. More accidents at work.

Our global union family won’t stand for this. Especially not when companies like AP Moller-Maersk made a USD $20 billion profit last year - much of it thanks to the hard work and skill of tug workers, dockers and seafarers.

It’s time for Svitzer to recognise tug workers’ efforts.

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To: Kasper Nilaus, CEO of Svitzer & Søren Skou, CEO of AP Moller-Maersk
From: [Your Name]

We know that as AP Moller-Maersk and Svitzer executives, you expect every part of the company which you own to uphold Maersk Group’s global values.

We regret to inform you that Svitzer management in the UK, Australia and the Netherlands have been letting you down badly by attacking tug workers.

In Australia: Svitzer is trying to terminate its long-standing collective bargaining agreement with the members of three maritime unions (MUA AIMPE, AMOU) pushing its entire Australian tug workforce back on to the bare minimum legal pay and conditions.

In the United Kingdom: Svitzer is trying to force a pay freeze on tugboat workers in Teesport, northern England – even with the cost of living rising 4.9% in the last year for these workers. In response, 100 per cent members of Unite the Union members voted ‘yes’ to strike action, disrupting Svitzer’s operations there.

In the Netherlands: Svitzer Euromed has established a second corporate entity (Svitzer Netherlands) that is refusing to conclude a collective agreement with FNV-Havens and Nautilus International NL to cover the new company and thereby undermining the right to collective bargaining.

Tug workers’ (and all workers’) rights to freedom of association is protected under the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) conventions C87, C98, and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998). Svitzer’s actions are in contradiction to these conventions.

Supporting freedom of association and collective bargaining are also values which your company has committed to, most recently in your Group’s Sustainability Report (2021):

“A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) is committed to respecting fundamental labour rights and constructive employee relations. Our commitment is based on core ILO conventions and internally accepted frameworks from the UN and OECD, as well as compliance with applicable local legislation where we operate.

Constructive employee relations can only exist by respecting the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, which means actively engaging with trade unions, work councils, and/or other employee representative bodies.”

Our global union family cannot stand by and allow the behaviour of Svitzer’s management in these locations to go unchecked. Especially not at a time when your wider company made a USD $20 billion profit last year - much of it thanks to the hard work and skill of tug workers, dockers and seafarers.

There is a race to the bottom in the tug sector in many parts of the world. Tug workers and their families are paying the price of aggressive employer tactics like those shown by Svitzer.

We want Maersk Group to be part of the solution to a safe and financially sustainable tug and towage industry, but that will require a big change.

It’s time for Svitzer to live up to live up to Maersk Group’s values, recognise tug workers’ efforts, and engage with our unions.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,