Home » Ports/Terminals » North Harbor laborers file notice of strike

DISGRUNTLED North Harbor laborers have filed a notice of strike for the alleged failure of Manila North Harbour Port, Inc (MNHPI), the port’s new operator, from supplying details on how past benefits will be settled.

The notice was filed by four associations — the Pier 8 Arrastre, United Dockhandlers, Inc, North Star and the Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Pantalan — all of which are, under the terms of the North Harbor contract, assured of servicing the port for up to three years.

The groups claimed the notice is also aimed at forcing MNHPI to improve operations at the facility, in chaos since the takeover by MNHPI from the Philippine Ports Authority on April 11. Port users have complained of a lack of equipment which has led to delays in shipments.

As of presstime yesterday, the National Concillation and Mediation Board was still conducting a hearing between the laborers and MNHPI to avert a strike.

The laborers are asking MNHPI to pay each of them 33 days per year of service based on a previous collective bargaining agreement. MNHPI said it was only willing to pay 26 days per year of service.

No TRO

In a related development, the Supreme Court (SC) last week declined to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) petitioned by the Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA) to maintain a status quo at the port.

The SC instead asked MNHPI to submit within 10 days its reply to the claims of the petitioners.

The TRO was sought to prevent MNHPI from further operating the port while the SC is deliberating on the injunction case to invalidate the entire North Harbor contract.

As of yesterday, there were still reports of a lack of cargo-handling equipment at the facility despite pronouncements to the contrary by MNHPI management.

Chaos continues

A report provided to PortCalls showed conditions at the port have not improved but may have even worsened since the April 11 takeover. There are claims that several shipping lines have been refused docking at their regular berthing areas unless they paid their dues to MNHPI.

Moreta Shipping Lines, in particular, has been advised to transfer three vessels to Pier 12 from Pier 6 without any advance notice. The shipping line was also not allowed to dock at Pier 6 unless it settled its obligations with MNHPI.

For now the payment of arrastre fees is done per bill of lading transaction while stevedoring fee is paid once a bill from the operator arrives. Moreta claims it has yet to receive a billing notice from MNHPI.

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