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Pay deal vexes Port workers

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

Pay deal vexes Port workers

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Workers at the Bridgetown Port brought operations there to a temporary halt on Thursday, walking off the job over a matter involving their trade union.

A source told the NATION the early morning action was taken by workers dissatisfied with the way the union had handled discussions associated with proposals for a pay increase.

The action arose as a result of a letter, dated August 14, from the Barbados Workers’ Union to the Port’s management, advising management that the BWU had “openly agreed with the new Government’s proposal to accept a five per cent increase across the board for public workers, as well as related groups which are affected by public sector negotiations.

“In order to keep faith with that commitment to the nation, the BWU hereby proposes that you should apply the five per cent with effect from the 1st April 2017 . . .”.

This reportedly did not sit well with the workers, concerned that the BWU’s decision was made after the union had previously informed the Port’s management that it would be submitting wages and salaries proposals to cover workers at the Bridgetown Port and the Shipping Association of Barbados “for the period June 2016-2019”.

The workers were also unhappy about receiving Tuesday’s letter sent to the management, when the union had no discussion with them, prior to sending the latter.

However, following a meeting with union delegates at the Port, the workers were soon back on the job.

In a statement issued by Barbados Port Inc., chief executive officer David Jean-Marie apologised for “any inconvenience caused” during the work stoppage.

“After consultation with the union executives, workers returned to work at approximately 9 a.m. and normal operations resumed shortly thereafter,” Jean-Marie stated.

He also advised that the BWU had scheduled a meeting with the Port workers for Monday, August 20, “to further address the issues which were raised this morning”.

As a result, port operations will start at 10 a.m. Monday, said Jean-Marie. (GC)