zoom APM Terminals has issued a statement that disputes The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) press release on Aqaba which describes how Jordanian employees within the General Union of Port Workers (GUPW) went on strike last week over contract changes and the company’s failure to negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement at Aqaba Container Terminal, Aqaba, Jordan.“We find the ITF’s statements misleading, incorrect and not supported by facts. Clearly, the ITF has not received accurate information from its affiliate organization in Jordan. This is counterproductive and results in delays to the regional transportation hub of Jordan and global supply chains. The strike was premature and illegal especially when held during a formal mediation process – which cannot be interpreted as a union victory,” said APM Terminals Regional CEO, Peder Sondergaard.APM terminals says that Aqaba Container Terminal is negotiating a new collective labour agreement with the GUPW. The current labour agreement has been in negotiation since March 2014 and due to expire in June 2014 since no agreement could be reached. Prior to the expiration of the collective labour agreement, the case was referred to the Ministry of Labour for the formal mediation and arbitration process. The matter is now with the Labour Court and the ruling is expected soon.The statement goes on to say that Jordan has a formal labour arbitration system established through the Ministry of Labour. If the unions and employers cannot agree, the process enters a ‘time out’ with formal mediation and arbitration to seek a solution. During this period, neither the unions nor the employer has the right to take industrial action such as strikes and lock-outs.APM Terminals says that despite the ‘time out’ period, the union held an illegal strike in July and again last week.The authorities subsequently intervened and requested the union strikers to leave the terminal to avoid tension with union members who desired to work at the port, the statement says. APM Terminals claims that the intervention was not requested by ACT. No force was used, according to the statement, although it was reported that four union people were briefly detained on security grounds. ITF’s statement that 150 people were arrested is false, APM Terminals states in a release.ITF also describes that ACT had issued penalties during (or as a consequence of) the strike and that 23 people had been dismissed. According to APM Terminals this is not factually correct; saying that internal regulations were followed and no dismissals took place.Aqaba Container Terminal has signed a MOU with the local GUPW whereby they have agreed to return to work and respect the formal process already in progress. Press Release
15 January 2009Thanks largely to a multi-million dollar donation from the Iraqi Government, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is able to complete its operation feeding hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by the violence in the strife-ridden country. Thanks largely to a multi-million dollar donation from the Iraqi Government, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is able to complete its operation feeding hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by the violence in the strife-ridden country. The $40 million backing from Iraq has provided WFP with sufficient funds to sustain its efforts in allotting food assistance to around 750,000 vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs) until the programme is scheduled to end in March. “It was this contribution, more than anything else, that ensured that the poorest among the displaced, who have lost access to the Iraqi Public Distribution System (PDS), are still receiving food rations,” said WFP Iraq Country Director Edward Kallon. The WFP operation targets the IDPs who are unable to register for the safety net of the Government-run PDS rations – which all 29 million Iraqis are eligible to receive – because they have left their original place of residence. The Government funding, which was confirmed in May, has been used to purchase more than 31,000 metric tons of wheat flour, 2,600 tons of oil and 2,250 tons of beans for distribution to vulnerable IDPs in all of Iraq’s 18 governorates. Today’s WFP announcement came two months after the publication of a detailed report by the Iraqi Government and WFP on food security in Iraq, which found that the numbers of people suffering from food insecurity was slashed from around four million in 2005 to 930,000 last year. Mr. Kallon attributed the improvement in access to food to increased economic activity across the country, stimulated by a marked improvement in security and the humanitarian efforts of the international community, while noting that the situation remained volatile and any upsurge in violence could undermine the whole process. At the same time, the report, the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, warned that a further 6.4 million people were in danger of sliding into food insecurity if it were not for safety nets such as the PDS, which provides Iraqis with a monthly food basket. The report recommended continued food assistance to the most vulnerable in collaboration with the Government’s efforts to reform the PDS, as well as support for initiatives aimed at improving mother and child caring practices and providing food for education in the poorest areas, with particular emphasis on girls’ enrolment and attendance. Mr. Kallon said that WFP stood ready to assist in these areas, particularly with a view to providing technical expertise and helping build capacity, should the Government of Iraq request it. Meanwhile, Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, met today with leaders of Iraq’s political blocs to brief them on the state of readiness and technical preparations for the upcoming provincial elections, and to outline the special measures being put in place to tackle fraud.He said that the technical preparations are well on track to have elections on 31 January, with over 20 million ballot papers to be delivered during the coming week. Mr. de Mistura emphasized that special security features will be used to make it extremely difficult to duplicate the ballots. Additional procedures have also been put in place to ensure that multiple voting and attempts to manipulate the polling are minimized.The UN is assisting Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), which is responsible for preparing and conducting elections – beginning with the provincial polls slated for 31 January and culminating with parliamentary elections in 2009-2010.