Strikes at German ports – Heuking successfully represents port companies

July, 2022 - Germany

With a team led by Dr. Andreas Walle, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek successfully represented the port companies against trade union ver.di before Hamburg Labor Court. The parties reached an agreement in the current wage dispute according to which the dockworkers are permitted to continue their two-day warning strike until Saturday morning. This will be followed by a period during which the parties to the collective agreement undertake not to engage in industrial action until August 26, 2022 while continuing good-faith negotiations.

Dockworkers staged a workforce strike in all major German North Sea ports starting at 6 a.m. on July 14, 2022, stopping work in Hamburg, Bremen, Bremerhaven, and Wilhelmshaven. According to ver.di, the strike is set to last until the morning of July 16.

Already the third industrial action in as many weeks, the strike follows the collapse of the latest round of negotiations to resolve a collective bargaining agreement dispute for 12,000 workers at 58 companies in Hamburg, Lower Saxony, and Bremen.

The strike is bound to have adverse impacts on the already tense situation in the shipping industry. Loading and unloading of ships have largely come to a standstill, adding to the congestion crisis in ports. Ulrike Riedel, lead negotiator of the Central Association of German Seaport Companies ZDS, referred to the call for a strike as “irresponsible” in view of disrupted supply chains that are negatively affecting consumers and businesses alike.

Counsel to port companies
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek:
Dr. Andreas Walle (Lead)
Dr. Eva Kettner, LL.B.
Theresa Arndt, LL.M. (all Employment), all Hamburg