COLOMBIAN DOCKERS PLAN 24-HOUR STRIKE

COLOMBIAN DOCKERS PLAN 24-HOUR STRIKE

Colombian dockworkers plan to strike all of the nation's ports for 24 hours, beginning today, sources said Wednesday.

The sporadic dock strikes of a few hours duration that began Jan. 8 still were in effect Wednesday, but the longshoremen voted to escalate the stoppages with a one-day walkout to protest government decrees calling for privatization of port operations and for reductions in dockers' pensions, said Owne Kelly, vice president of Norton Lilly International Inc.Norton Lilly represents Flota Mercante Colombiana SA in New York.

However, he added, events could change rapidly, as is often the case in South American labor disputes.

Lucille Lane, a spokeswoman for Crowley Maritime Corp., said that although Crowley hopes the dispute can be resolved before the walkout, a 24-hour strike shouldn't prove too disruptive.

Indeed, representatives of several carriers in the U.S.-Colombia trade expressed little overt concern, saying the sporadic strikes had done little more than slow cargo operations a bit.