Port Wings News Network:
Analysis carried out by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) released on 9 October has found an emerging pattern of labour rights violations throughout one of the world’s fastest growing stevedoring companies: International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI).
The report, launched by ITF President Paddy Crumlin, shows that labour issues at ICTSI terminals are not limited to current disputes at ICTSI terminal in Madagascar and Indonesia. Severe labour violations can be found throughout ICTSI’s global network.
According to a media statement, the ITF will now focus on ports in which ICTSI seeks to expand, including the multi-purpose terminal in Kribi, Cameroon, a new port in Guinea-Bissau, the Motuka Port in Port Moresby and the Port of Lae in Papua New Guinea.
Paddy Crumlin stated: “Patterns are emerging on ICTSI’s docks. A pattern of paying poverty wages. A pattern of failing to respect workers’ right to freedom of association. A pattern of poor safety standards endangering workers’ lives. A pattern of illegally out-sourcing jobs to labour-hire companies.”
“ICTSI has grown ambitiously over the last decade, yet as this report shows, their growth has not been accompanied by sufficient managerial oversight and appropriate global governance to ensure productive industrial relations, compliance with local laws, and international labour conventions,” Paddy Crumlin added.
“Today we have a clear message for ICTSI: end the disputes at the Port of Jakarta and the Port of Toamasina in Madagascar. Reverse the emerging pattern of labour rights violations throughout your network. And treat your workers with the dignity and respect that all workers deserve. The ITF, and our union affiliates, are committed to supporting port operators who provide good jobs and industrial relations practices in their ports. Together we are committed to ensuring that ICTSI does not extend its pattern of labour violations into new terminals,” added Crumlin.
Governments, investors and financiers that seek to partner with ICTSI should be concerned about this emerging pattern of violations, which indicate that as the company has grown to become a global ports player, it has not put in place sufficient oversight measures to ensure compliance with global norms and standards across their whole network. ICTSI’s governance failures suggest that the company’s future expansion may be accompanied by increasing volatility and risk due to protracted industrial disputes and safety failures.
International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) is a Philippine-based container terminal operator, which operates 29 container terminals globally. Since 1994, it has engaged in an ambitious international and domestic expansion program.
Growth has been targeted in ports that are privatised from government control, with a focus on emerging markets. ICTSI has identified Africa as the target region for future expansion.
ICTSI is currently short-listed for the Port of Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, and is lobbying the Cameroonian government to join the consortium that will operate and manage the multi-purpose terminal in Kribi, Cameroon. In September 2017, ICTSI signed an agreement to operate the Lae and Motuka ports in Papua New Guinea.