Amadeusz Juskowiak

Neither side optimistic on rotterdam port issues

Employers and the port union FNV are to meet again this afternoon to attempt a settlement of the sixweekold dispute in Rotterdams general cargo sector but neither side is optimistic spokesmen for both sides told Reuters

Little progress was made in last nights three hours of talks with both sides largely reiterating their positions

There is still a very large gap between the employers and the FNV and I cant say that we expect to reach any agreement But at least we are still talking a union spokesman said

Employers organization chairman Jacques Schoufour accused the FNV of intransigence in refusing to alter its stance at all over the past two months

The FNV is not serious about our discussions and I am really not optimistic about it changing its point of view at all

If we find this afternoon that the FNV still refuses to accept the necessary redundancies in the general cargo sector then we will break off the talks and the redundancies may begin later this month Schoufour said

The series of strikes which employers say has cost them more than seven mln guilders in lost import business in the past six weeks began on January 19 in protest at plans for 800 redundancies from the sectors 4000 workforce starting with 350 this year

Late last month Social Affairs minister Louw de Graaf said unless the dispute was settled by yesterday he would withdraw the sectors 10 mln guilder annual labour subsidy

Both sides wrote to the minister yesterday setting out their cases but Schoufour said he did not expect to hear from him before Wednesday at the earliest