ICTSI faces landowner, worker fight in PNG

The PNG Maritime and Transport Workers Union (PNGMTWU) and landowner groups are holding protests in Lae and Port Moresby today against Philippine port operator, International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI). ICTSI recently signed an agreement to operate the Motukea Port, Port Moresby, and the Port of Lae.

Landowner groups are angry that they were excluded from the bid process, with the benefits of Papua New Guinea (PNG) port development flowing to a global company with a record of poor governance, predatory pricing and severe labour and safety violations.

The protests in PNG are part of a global week of lawful actions by ITF affiliates, which will hit ICTSI ports and shipping routes at 14 locations in Africa, Europe and Asia. These actions are in response to a report released this week by the ITF which found an emerging pattern of labour rights violations throughout ICTSI’s global network.

ITF President Paddy Crumlin stated: “Time and time again ICTSI have proven themselves to be an international disgrace. We’ve seen them pay poverty wages, prevent workers from forming unions, adopt poor safety standards, injury of workers, and a pattern of illegal out-sourcing of jobs to labour-hire companies.

“PNG landowners and workers are at one on this, and are gearing up for a fight. The ITF will be with them every step of the way.

“ICTSI has grown ambitiously over the last decade, but this new report shows that their growth has not been accompanied by sufficient managerial oversight and appropriate global governance to ensure productive industrial relations and compliance with local laws and international labour conventions.

“The ITF is committed to working with local unions and landowners to ensure that the labour violations seen elsewhere in the ICTSI network cannot be repeated in Papua New Guinea.

“The ITF, and our union affiliates, are committed to supporting port operators who provide good jobs and industrial relations practices in their ports. Together we are committed to ensuring that ICTSI does not extend its pattern of labour violations into new terminals,” said Crumlin.

The Government of PNG should be concerned about the emerging pattern of labour violations in the ICTSI network. ICTSI’s governance failures suggest that the company’s future expansion may be accompanied by increasing volatility and risk due to protracted disputes with workers and landowner groups.

Today the unions and landowner groups are sending a message that ICTSI must improve its game. They will not allow it to import these bad corporate practices to PNG.

International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) is a Philippine-based container terminal operator, which operates 29 container terminals globally. Since 1994, it has engaged in an ambitious international and domestic expansion program. Growth has been targeted in privatised ports, with a focus on emerging markets. ICTSI has identified Africa as the target region for future expansion.

ICTSI is currently short-listed for the Port of Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, and is lobbying the Cameroonian government to join the consortium that will operate and manage the multi-purpose terminal in Kribi, Cameroon.

ICTSI is reported to have signed an agreement to operate the Lae and Motuka ports in Papua New Guinea.

For more information, please contact:
Luke Menzies, ITF Asia Pacific Campaign Centre | T: +61 433 889 844 | E: mediasydney@itf.org.uk