Union shocked by the agreed sale of HHLA shares to MSC
To the German United Service Union (ver.di) the agreement between the City of Hamburg and the shipping giant MSC to partially put the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik Aktiengesellschaft (HHLA) in private hands, came as a major shock.
The union said that such a move puts the future of the employees at risk. Speaking of the agreement that would put 49.9 per cent of HHLA into the hands of MSC, André Kretschmar, responsible regional department head at ver.di, said, “The Port of Hamburg is currently hampered by falling throughput figures. Added to that is the ongoing automation process that will have a significant effect on the employees and their jobs. HHLA is the forerunner here and is structuring the venture accordingly. It is exactly in this situation where the city has its responsibility. It had to commit to leaving the port of Hamburg in public and therefore in the hands of its employees.”
However, Kretschmar said the City is selling off its gold, pointing out that there was nothing but empty promises from the politicians towards the employees of HHLA. He called on the city leadership to show transparency and a clear path. He also demanded commitment and adherence to collective bargaining agreements as well as the preservation of jobs.
Maya Schwiegershausen-Güth, ver.di federal specialist group leader for the maritime economy, said the sale of the shares will jeopardize the national maritime strategy. “Since the Corona pandemic at the latest, it should be clear to everyone that the German seaports are critical infrastructure. They therefore belong in the public sector; there should be no sell-off of the seaports and their employees.”
Rather, what is needed is a common, coordinated strategy to ensure the future of the German bay. The partial privatization of HHLA also has far-reaching consequences for the other German seaports and their employees.
“Instead of maintaining its independence, the city of Hamburg continues to be in the hands of shipowners and is therefore deciding against a future-proof national port strategy. This will be to the detriment of employees and must be criticized. We therefore call on the Hanseatic city to reconsider its decision and return to a common national port strategy,” said Schwiegershausen-Güth.
“The German seaports provide job security for around 5.6 million people in Germany. That alone should be reason enough to keep it in public hands,” emphasizes Schwiegershausen-Güth.