The Official State Bulletin (BOE) dated May 13th 2017 published the Royal Decree – Law 8/2017 of May 12th which modifies the regulation of workers that provide port cargo handling services and operations, in order to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of December 11th 2014, in the case C-576/13 (infringement proceeding 2009/4052). After several months of debates and negotiations with the affected sectors and since the expectations of the previous RD-law 4/2017 were not fulfilled (and was revoked on March 16th 2017), this Royal Decree is the second attempt of the Spanish Government to regulate the situation of port cargo handling services and operations.
The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of December 11th 2014 sanctioned Spain arguying that the legal regulation for port handling services in Spanish ports contravened article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This decision of the Court of Justice forced Spain to carry out legal amendments, which have been discussed in the Congress for months, and whose result is the new regulation that aims at meeting the agreement of each party involved; the State, business associations and trade unions. Since the previous RD-law 4/2017 dated February 24th failed, this second and recent one pursues to be the definitive basis for the new regulation of workers that provide port cargo handling services and operations.
The RD-law 8/2017 has changed the revoked RD-law 4/2017, which was discussed in our blog under the heading “New Stevedore Service Regulation” published on March 2nd 2017. In fact, the current RD-law 8/2017 presents some modifications: (i) of the article 3, related to the required qualifications; (ii) of the First Additional Provision, changing the content of the previous version by eliminating the section on “Temporary Contracts”; (iii) of the Second Additional Provision, related to the Collective Bargaining Agreements which can be negotiated for each port; (iv) of the sole Repeal Provision, since, apart from the abovementioned articles of the previous RD-law, the final paragraph of the article 130.3 c) of State Ports and Merchant Navy Act was also revoked; (v) the RD-law also integrates a Compromise Proposal which will be regulated next weeks, as notified by the Spanish Government.
We hope that this Royal Decree – Law 8/2017 dated May 12th will provide an acceptable solution to the irregular situation that recently arose in the stevedoring sector in Spain.
Should you need more information do not hesitate to contact us.