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The War on Europe's Waterfront - Repertoires of Power in the Port Transport Industry


  • Peter Turnbull


When the European Commission proposed a Directive On Market Access to Port Services in February 2001, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) issued a declaration of war on Europe's waterfront. To protect established terms and conditions of employment in the port transport industry, the ITF developed a strategy of internationalization that required dock workers to engage in a new politics of scale wrought by globalization. A new repertoire of collective action - based on more effective union articulation (i.e. stronger interrelationships between the workplace, national and international levels of organization) combined with the activities of new labour networks that connected port workers at the trans-national corporation, port range and pan-European levels - enabled dockers to sink the Directive in the European Parliament in November 2003. The dockers' victory will not be lost on other European unions or indeed other global union federations, although their success will doubtless prove more difficult for other occupational groups to emulate. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Turnbull, 2006. "The War on Europe's Waterfront - Repertoires of Power in the Port Transport Industry," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 44(2), pages 305-326, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:44:y:2006:i:2:p:305-326

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charlwood, Andy, 2003. "The anatomy of union decline in Britain: 1990-1998," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20006, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. A Charlwood, 2003. "The Anatomy of Union Decline in Britain: 1990-1998," CEP Discussion Papers dp0601, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Lévesque & Gregor Murray, 2013. "Renewing Union Narrative Resources: How Union Capabilities Make a Difference," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 51(4), pages 777-796, December.
    2. Patrick Verhoeven, 2011. "Dock Labor Schemes in the Context of EU Law and Policy," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(2), pages 149-166.
    3. Evans, Peter, 2010. "Is it Labor’s Turn to Globalize? Twenty-ï¬ rst Century Opportunities and Strategic Responses," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt10j002st, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    4. Woo, Su-Han & Pettit, Stephen J. & Kwak, Dong-Wook & Beresford, Anthony K.C., 2011. "Seaport research: A structured literature review on methodological issues since the 1980s," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 667-685, August.
    5. Marianne Fischman & Emeric Lendjel, 2012. "Maritime Ports And Inland Interconnections: A Transactional Analysis Of Container Barge Transport In France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00741127, HAL.
    6. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00741127 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Pallis, Athanasios A., 2006. "Chapter 21 EU Port Policy: Implications for Port Governance in Europe," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 479-495, January.

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