French dockworkers, crane operators and other port workers will walk off the job Friday, Feb. 4, in the fourth successive four-day strike following the breakdown of talks aimed at resolving a bitter dispute over early retirement.
The Communist-led CGT, the largest dockworker union, called for further nationwide strike action after inconclusive talks with private port employers on Tuesday.
Dockworkers and port workers staged 14 days of strikes in January to protest the withdrawal of an agreement in principle with employers last year on early retirement for up to 6,000 dockworkers with arduous jobs.
The CGT, majority union in all ports except Dunkirk, is calling for four years early retirement, but the government, which raised the minimum pension age for all workers by two years to 62 in November, says dockworkers can only retire two years early.
The government, which would have to pay around half of the costs of early retirement, is refusing to back down.
But private stevedores are said to be anxious to compromise to avert further strikes, which have sharply reduced traffic, particularly containers. They also fear a permanent loss of traffic to rival European ports like Rotterdam and Antwerp, which have attracted cargoes diverted from French ports.
Dockworkers will strike on Feb. 4 and 6 and other workers will walk off the job on Feb. 5 and 7.
No fresh negotiations have been agreed upon.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.