German river and canal shipping has been repeatedly disrupted by a series of short protest strikes since July called by Germantrade union Ver.dito oppose government plans to restructure Germany’s inland navigation authority WSA.
The inland waterways are major transport routes for a range of commodities including refined oil products like heating oil, coal, ore, grains and oilseeds.
Strikes will start on Sept. 9, and continue until Sunday, Sept. 15, as the government has refused compromise on the issue,Ver.disaid in a statement.
Ver.diis calling for theGerman governmentto give wage and other guarantees to WSA employees after the Transport Ministry announced plans to reform the agency with heavy job losses.Ver.difears 3,000 of the agency’s 12,000 jobs could be cut.
“The entirelogisticsindustry, weather inland and ocean shipping, ports and freight transport companies, along with industry and trade must face up to massive disruption to cargo transport,” said the German association of inland shipping companies BDB in a statement.
The association said it strongly criticized theGerman governmentfor failing to solve the dispute.
“The strikes are starting to become a thorn in the side as delivery by inland shipping is no longer reliable because of delays,” one German grains broker said.
“Traders have been unwilling to agree deals involving inland shipping routes which have locks. Much cargo can be switched to truck and rail but this can involve a painful rise in costs.” (Reuters)