Labor Toolkit

Labor Reform and Related Social Issues


A number of programs and funding sources can be used to support port labor reform, several of which are described below.

Since 1990, the World Bank (Bank) has supported labor adjustment in reform and enterprise restructuring in about 50 operations around the world. The main elements of Bank support have included:

Education and vocational training are vital to the change process. Training should include not only general education and broad industryfocused vocational training, but also specific job instruction, communication and social skills courses, and health, safety and environmental training. Sufficient and continuing funds are necessary to finance the education and training infrastructure. The need for lifelong training to enable workers to cope with the permanent changes taking place in the industry is recognized in the 1989 EU charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, which states that: “...every worker of the European Community must be able to have access to vocational training and benefit there from throughout his or her working life.”

Moreover, good education and vocational training are increasingly recognized and used as an instrument to improve the quality of the products and services of businesses and thus enhance their competitiveness. Therefore, education and vocational training are in the best interest of the port community as a whole. Furthermore, a lack of education and training means a lack of opportunities to teach the workers the essence of transport economics and policies, the position of ports in the intermodal transport system and its dependency on the other modes of transport, and about the forces shaping the competitive environment.

The objective of the International Labor Office (ILO) Port Worker Development Program (PDP) is to enable governments and port authorities of developing countries to establish effective and systematic port worker training schemes. This training is designed to improve container handling performance, working conditions and practices, safety, and the status and welfare of port workers. See Annex II for a list of training centers or organizations that have acquired the PDP training materials and licenses.

The translation into Spanish of the PDP and the training of PDP instructors and coordinators was undertaken under a German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) project in Latin America. Since 2000, the program is regularly implemented in several Latin American countries. PDP is also being translated into Chinese.

Outreach for training programs has also been improved through the establishment and strengthening of training centers, management training institutes, universities, and cooperation networks associated with the international TRAINMAR Program of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) in Central and South America and the Caribbean. This was achieved through the upgrading of local and regional training capabilities and the application of the systematic TRAINMAR methodology for the development and exchange of standard training materials as part of cooperation projects financed by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), the European Commission, Germany, and France. Since 1988, the three TRAINMAR networks in Latin America and the Caribbean are regularly and successfully developing and delivering courses and management training programs directed at all categories of personnel from the port and transport industry.

Further information on the PDP may be obtained from: Chief, Maritime Industries Branch, Sectoral Activities Department, International Labor Office, 4 route des Morillons, CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland, telephone (41.22) 799-7466, fax (41.22) 799- 7050, e-mail:

Further information on the TRAINMAR networks in South and Central America and on the implementation of the PDP in Latin America may be obtained from: ATAS (Asociación TRAINMAR de América del Sur—South American TRAINMAR Association) Montevideo, Uruguay. Web site:


How To Use The Toolkit


Framework for Port Reform

The Evolution of Ports in a Competitive World

Alternative Port Management Structures and Ownership Models

Legal Tools for Port Reform

Financial Implications of Port Reform

Port Regulation:
Overseeing the Economic Public Interest in Ports

Labor Reform and Related Social Issues

Context for Labor Reform

Key Labor Issues

Labor Involvement in Port Reform

Organizing to Address Labor Reform: A Task Force Approach

The Institutional Framework for Labor Reform

Developing the Workforce Rationalization Plan

International Support for Labor Adjustment

Postreform Labor Management Relations

Annex I and II

Implementing Port Reform


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