Spanish port workers have suspended another three days of strikes schedule for 10, 13 and 15 of March following the government’s decision to postpone a debate and vote on reforming the port law.
However, the unions said they would still go ahead with a further four days of walkouts planned for 17, 20, 22 and 24 March.
Hours before, the government announced that it would increase payments into a fund to protect jobs and companies while still enabling the necessary reforms to be undertaken to ensure the port sector complies with EU rules.
Fears that the dispute is set to escalate heightened this week with news that the International Dockworkers Council (IDC), an umbrella group of 91 unions in 41 countries, is planning coordinated strikes in Europe and the rest of the world on Friday in a show of support for Spanish port workers.
The IDC, which claims the reforms will cost 6,000 Spanish jobs, has called for ports in Europe to stop work for three hours and those in the rest of the world for one hour.
It has also said it will make sure that neighbouring ports such as Sines, Lisbon, Marseilles and Tangiers do not handle cargo destined for Spain when the Spanish stevedores are on strike.
“Furthermore, if this conflict is not resolved by the end of March, the IDC will investigate measures that will directly target Spanish foreign trade, both imports and exports,” the council said.
“Solidarity actions will also be scheduled for workers at various Spanish embassies around the world, and IDC members are asked to anticipate the need to send representatives to Spanish ports to support the dockers there.”