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Wharfies strike at three WA ports

More than 150 wharfies have gone on strike at Western Australia's busiest ports More than 150 wharfies have gone on strike at Western Australia's busiest ports, mainly over concerns that a poor safety regime will lead to deaths on the waterfront.Maritime Union of Australia Western Australia (MUA WA) branch secretary Chris Cain said up to 200 wharfies at Fremantle, Port Hedland and Bunbury ports had downed tools on Saturday over safety concerns.They are also seeking an annual pay rise of six per cent over three years.Mr Cain said the wharfies, employed by Sydney-based stevedoring company POAGS, would remain on strike until Tuesday.POAGS had appealed to Fair Work Australia to try to prevent the strike, but that was rejected, so the workers had a legal right to take the action, Mr Cain said.POAGS had told the union on Friday that it would lock out the workers on Tuesday if they took industrial action over the weekend, he said.Mr Cain said the main concern at the Fremantle, Port Hedland and Bunbury ports was safety, given workers were battling with "antiquated gear".Two POAGS workers were killed last year while doing their jobs. One was a 41-year-old father-of-two struck by a falling steel beam ...

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Unhappy workers threaten to shut down Suez Canal of Egypt

A strike would paralyze the canal Last Saturday, someone broke into an electricity control room here and threw a switch. Suddenly, Port Tawfiq, the vast shipyard that marks the southern entrance to the Suez Canal, and the southern half of the city of Suez went dark.Ten minutes later, the lights came back on. But in that short time, disgruntled workers who've been on strike here for the last three weeks had made their point: The Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest transportation hubs, could be paralyzed with very little effort."We did not cut the cables, although we could have," said Emad El Sadeq, a technician for the Suez Canal Shipyards, one of seven subsidiary companies run by the Suez Canal Authority. "We had to give them a taste of what we can do."In the five months since Hosni Mubarak was toppled from the presidency after 30 years of iron-fisted rule, many of Egypt's fault lines have come to the surface. Coptic Christians and Muslim fundamentalists have fought pitched battles in the streets. Unknown assailants have bombed the natural gas pipeline to Israel three times, symbolic strikes at a hated accord that Egyptians often blame for high prices at home. ...

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Greek dockworkers on a 24-hour general strike

To protest new austerity measures imposed by the government under pressure Greek dockworkers will join a 24-hour general strike June 15 to protest fresh austerity measures imposed by the Socialist government under pressure from international creditors.The dockers unions are also threatening to step up industrial action through the summer to protest the planned privatization of publicly owned ports as part of a sale of state assets aimed at reducing Greeces $500 billion debt burden.The government plans to sell its 75 percent stakes in the Piraeus and Thessaloniki port authorities by the end of the year. It will also seek buyers for its stakes of between 43 percent and 66 percent in smaller ports in 2012 and 2013.The Union of Port Workers called the privatizations an incomprehensible and criminal political act.The European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, which rescued Greece from bankruptcy last year with a $157 billion loan, are pressing Athens to implement pledged reforms, including privatizations, to secure further funding.Dockers staged several strikes in recent weeks against the privatization program, but the government has shown no sign of backing down.The chairman of Port Piraeus George Anomeritis said privatization is an obsolete business model and ...

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