As of Tuesday, 2nd February 2021 2.00 am and until Thursday, 4th February 2021 11.45 pm the technical workers at Hamburg-based HHLA-daughters SCA and SCB are called out on strike by their union ver.di, the United Services Union. The ca. 360-strong workforce are on strike to demand improvements in their weekend working time regulations. The workers demand that their weekend working time be regulated as in the regional col-lective agreements covering roughly 11.000 port workers in the German North range ports. These stipulate that the regular 40-hour working week be spread between Monday to Saturday with 30 days obligatory leave securing workers a 35-hour week over a year’s course. Sundays are exempt from this regulation. De-parting from this rule, at SCA and SCB Sunday is currently counted as a normal working day forcing workers to work on more weekends than their colleagues in other companies. These rules may apply to more workers in HHLA companies.

Negotiations about ver.di’s demands began in late 2019. Following the expiration of the company collective agreement at SCA/SCB and the lack of progress in negotiations ver.di called for a one-day strike on 25th/26th January 2021. With no progress made in the subsequent negotiations ver.di has now called for a 3-day strike and urges the company to desist from victimizing its members by threatening with job loss in case of strike participation.

HHLA is a majority-owned state company in the city of Hamburg, Germany, and has secured substantial gains for shareholders in recent years following the global economic upswing after the financial crisis of 2008/09. Management is attempting to compete with the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp over cargo amounts by reducing labour costs, increasing port automation, slashing dockers’ jobs and ultimately merging with its main competitor in Hamburg, Eurogate, which employs thousands of dock workers in Hamburg, Bremen and Bremerhaven. ver.di is ada-mant in rejecting such plans to the detriment of thousands of port workers in Hamburg and insists that the company must show its social commitment by complying with SCA/SCB workers’ demands and securing workers’ jobs and income.