R145 Recommendation concerning the Social Repercussions of New Methods of Cargo Handling in Docks

Geneva, 25 giugno 1973

The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation,

Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and having met in its Fifty-eighth Session on 6 June 1973, and
Considering that important changes have taken place and are taking place in cargo-handling methods in docks:such as the adoption of unit loads, the introduction of roll-on roll-off techniques and the increase of mechanisation and automation:and in the pattern of movement of freight, and that such changes are expected to become more widespread in the future, and
Considering that such changes, by speeding up freight movements, reducing the time spent by ships in ports and lowering transport costs, may benefit the economy of the country concerned as a whole and contribute to the raising of the standard of living, and
Considering that such changes also involve considerable repercussions on the level of employment in ports and on the conditions of work and life of dockworkers, and that measures should be adopted to prevent or to reduce the problems consequent thereon, and
Considering that dockworkers should share in the benefits secured by the introduction of new methods of cargo handling and that, accordingly, action for the lasting improvement of their situation, by such means as regularisation of employment and stabilisation of income, and other measures relating to their conditions of work and life, as well as to safety and health aspects of dock work, should be planned and taken concurrently with the planning and introduction of new methods, and
Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to social repercussions of new methods of cargo handling (docks), which is the fifth item on the agenda of the session, and
Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of a Recommendation supplementing the Dock Work Convention, 1973,
adopts this twenty-fifth day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and seventy-three, the following Recommendation, which may be cited as the Dock Work Recommendation, 1973:

I. Scope and Definitions

1. Except as otherwise provided in Paragraph 36, this Recommendation applies to persons who are regularly available for work as dockworkers and who depend on their work as such for their main annual income.
2. For the purpose of this Recommendation the terms dockworkers and dock work mean persons and activities defined as such by national law or practice. The organisations of employers and workers concerned should be consulted on or otherwise participate in the establishment and revision of such definitions. Account should be taken in this connection of new methods of cargo handling and their effect on the various dockworker occupations.

II. The Impact of Changes in Cargo-Handling Methods

3. In each country and, as appropriate, each port, the probable impact of changes in cargo-handling methods, including the impact on the employment opportunities for, and the conditions of employment of, dockworkers, as well as on the occupational structure in ports, should be regularly and systematically assessed, and the action to be taken in consequence systematically reviewed, by bodies in which representatives of the organisations of employers and workers concerned and, as appropriate, of the competent authorities participate.
4. The introduction of new methods of cargo handling and related measures should be co-ordinated with national and regional development and manpower programmes and policies.
5. For the purposes set out in Paragraphs 3 and 4, all relevant information should be collected continuously, including in particular:
(a) statistics of freight movement through ports, showing the methods of handling used;
(b) flow charts showing the origin and the destination of the main streams of freight handled, as well as the points of assembly and dispersion of the contents of containers and other unit loads;
(c) estimates of future trends, if possible similarly presented;
(d) forecasts of manpower required in ports to handle cargo, taking account of future developments in methods of cargo handling and in the origin and destination of the main streams of freight.
6. As far as possible, each country should adopt those changes in the methods of handling cargo which are best suited to its economy, having regard in particular to the relative availability of capital, especially foreign exchange, and of labour, and to inland transport facilities.

III. Regularisation of Employment and Income

A. Permanent or Regular Employment

7. In so far as practicable, permanent or regular employment should be provided for all dockworkers.

B. Guarantees of Employment or Income

(1) Where permanent or regular employment is not practicable, guarantees of employment and/or income should be provided, in a manner and to an extent depending on the economic and social situation of the country and port concerned.
(2) These guarantees might include any or all of the following:
(a) employment for an agreed number of hours or shifts per year, per month or per week, or pay in lieu thereof;
(b) attendance money, payable for being present at calls or otherwise available for work when no employment is obtained, under a scheme to which no financial contribution from the dockworkers is required;
(c) unemployment benefit when no work is available.
9. Positive steps should be taken by all concerned to avert or minimise as far as possible any reduction of the workforce, without prejudice to the efficient conduct of dock work operations.
10. Adequate provision should be made for giving dockworkers financial protection in case of unavoidable reduction of the workforce by such means as:
(a) unemployment insurance or other forms of social security;
(b) severance allowance or other types of separation benefits paid by the employers;
(c) such combination of benefits as may be provided for by national laws or regulations, or collective agreements.

C. Registration

11. Registers should be established and maintained for all occupational categories of dockworkers, in a manner determined by national law or practice, in order to:
(a) prevent the use of supplementary labour when the work available is insufficient to provide an adequate livelihood to dockworkers;
(b) operate schemes for the regularisation of employment or stabilisation of earnings and for the allocation of labour in ports.
12. The number of specialised categories should be reduced and their scope altered as the nature of the work changes and as more dockworkers become able to carry out a greater variety of tasks.
13. The distinction between work on board ship and work on shore should be eliminated, where possible, with a view to achieving greater interchangeability of labour, flexibility in allocation and efficiency in operations.
14. Where permanent or regular employment is not available for all dockworkers, the registers should take the form of either:
(a) a single register;
(b) separate registers for:
(i) those in more or less regular employment;
(ii) those in a reserve pool.
15. No person should normally be employed as a dockworker unless he is registered as such. Exceptionally, when all available registered dockworkers are employed, other workers may be engaged.
16. The registered dockworker should make himself available for work in a manner determined by national law or practice.

D. Adjusting the Strength of the Registers

17. The strength of the registers should be periodically reviewed by the parties concerned, so as to achieve levels adequate, but not more than adequate, to the needs of the port. In such reviews, account should be taken of all relevant factors and in particular the long-term factors such as the changing methods of cargo handling and changing trends in trade.
(1) Where the need for particular categories of dockworkers decreases, every effort should be made to retain the workers concerned in jobs within the port industry by retraining them for work in other categories; the retraining should be provided well in advance of any anticipated change in the methods of operation.
(2) If reduction in the over-all strength of a register becomes unavoidable, all necessary efforts should be made to help dockworkers to find employment elsewhere through the provision of retraining facilities and the assistance of the public employment services.
(1) In so far as practicable, any necessary reduction in the strength of a register should be made gradually and without recourse to termination of employment. In this respect, experience with personnel planning techniques at the level of the undertaking can be usefully applied to ports.
(2) In determining the extent of the reduction, regard should be had to such means as:
(a) natural wastage;
(b) cessation of recruitment, except for workers with special skills for which dockworkers already registered cannot be trained;
(c) exclusion of men who do not derive their main means of livelihood from dock work;
(d) reducing the retirement age or facilitating voluntary early retirement by the grant of pensions, supplements to state pensions, or lump-sum payments; (e) permanent transfer of dockworkers from ports with excess of dockworkers to ports with shortage of such workers, wherever the situation warrants and subject to collective agreements and to the agreement of the workers concerned.
(3) Termination of employment should be envisaged only after due regard has been had to the means referred to in subparagraph (2) of this Paragraph and subject to whatever guarantees of employment may have been given. It should be based as far as possible on agreed criteria, should be subject to adequate notice, and should be accompanied by payments as set out in Paragraph 10.

E. Allocation

20. Except where permanent or regular employment with a particular employer exists, systems of allocation should be agreed upon which:
(a) subject to the provisions of Paragraphs 11, 15 and 17, provide each employer with the labour required to secure a quick turn-round of ships, or in case of shortage, a fair share of such labour consistent with any established system of priorities;
(b) provide each registered dockworker with a fair share of available work;
(c) reduce to a minimum the necessity for attending calls for selection and allocation to a job and the time required for this purpose;
(d) ensure that, so far as practicable and subject to the necessary rotation of shifts, dockworkers complete a task begun by them.
21. Subject to conditions to be prescribed by national laws or regulations or collective agreements, the transfer of dockworkers in the regular employment of one employer to temporary work with another should be permitted when required.
22. Subject to conditions to be prescribed by national laws or regulations or collective agreements, the temporary transfer of dockworkers on a voluntary basis from one port to another should be permitted when required.

IV. Labour-Management Relations

23. Discussions and negotiations between employers and workers concerned should aim not merely at settlement of current issues such as wages and conditions of work, but at an over-all arrangement encompassing the various social measures required to meet the impact of new methods of cargo handling.
24. The existence of organisations of employers and of dockworkers established in accordance with the principles of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948, and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949, able freely to enter into negotiations and to ensure the execution of agreements arrived at, should be recognised as being important for this purpose.
25. Where it does not already exist, appropriate joint industrial machinery should be set up with a view to creating a climate of confidence and co-operation between dockworkers and employers in which social and technical change can be brought about without tension or conflict and grievances promptly settled in accordance with the Examination of Grievances Recommendation, 1967.
26. Employers' and workers' organisations, together as appropriate with the competent authorities, should participate in the application of the social measures required, and in particular in the operation of schemes for the regularisation of employment or stabilisation of earnings.
27. Effective policies of communication between employers and dockworkers and between the leaders of workers' organisations and their members should be established in accordance with the Communications within the Undertaking Recommendation, 1967, and implemented by all possible means at all levels.

V. Organisation of Work in Ports

28. In order to secure the greatest social advantage of new methods of cargo handling, agreements should be concluded between employers or their organisations, on the one hand, and workers' organisations, on the other hand, with a view to their co-operation in improving the efficiency of work in ports, with the participation, as appropriate, of the competent authorities.
29. The measures to be covered by such agreements might include:
(a) the use of scientific knowledge and techniques concerning the work environment with particular reference to conditions in ports;
(b) comprehensive vocational training schemes, including training in safety measures;
(c) mutual efforts to eliminate outdated practices;
(d) increased flexibility in the deployment of dock labour between hold and hold, ship and ship, and ship and shore, and between shore jobs;
(e) recourse, where necessary, to shift work and weekend work;
(f) work organisation and training designed to enable dockworkers to carry out several related tasks;
(g) the adaptation of the strength of gangs to agreed needs, with due regard to the necessity of ensuring reasonable rest periods;
(h) mutual efforts to eliminate unproductive time as far as practicable;
(i) provision for the effective use of mechanical equipment, subject to the observance of relevant safety standards and the weight restrictions required by the certified safe working capacity of the machine.
30. Such measures should be accompanied by agreements concerning the regularisation of employment or stabilisation of earnings and by the improvements in conditions of work referred to in the following Part of this Recommendation.

VI. Conditions of Work and Life

31. Laws and regulations concerning safety, health, welfare and vocational training applicable to industrial undertakings should be effectively applied in ports, with such technical variations as may be necessary; there should be adequate and qualified inspection services.
32. Standards as regards hours of work, weekly rest, holidays with pay and similar conditions should be not less favourable for dockworkers than for the majority of workers in industrial undertakings.
33. Measures should be adopted in regard to shift work, which include:
(a) not placing the same worker on consecutive shifts, except within limits established by national laws or regulations or collective agreements;
(b) special compensation for the inconvenience caused to the worker by shift work, including weekend work;
(c) fixing an appropriate maximum duration and an appropriate timing of shifts, regard being had to local circumstances.
34. Where new methods of cargo handling are introduced and where tonnage rates or other forms of payment by results are in use, steps should be taken to review and, where necessary, revise the methods and the scales of pay. Where possible, the earnings of the dockworkers should be improved as a result of the introduction of the new methods of cargo handling.
35. Appropriate pension and retirement schemes should be introduced where they do not already exist.

VII. Miscellaneous Provisions

36. Appropriate provisions of this Recommendation should, as far as practicable, also be applied to occasional and to seasonal dockworkers in accordance with national law and practice.

• C87 Convenzione sulla libertà sindacale e la protezione del diritto sindacale, 9 luglio 1948
• C98 Convenzione sul diritto di organizzazione e di negoziazione collettiva, 1 luglio 1949
• C137 Convenzione sulle ripercussioni sociali dei nuovi metodi di manutenzione nei porti, 25 giugno 1973

Fonte: ILO