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Labour minister confident an end to docks dispute is in sight

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

An “impasse” between dock-workers and management last week meant the industrial action at the port of Hamilton had to be sent before to Labour Disputes Tribunal, the labour minister said yesterday.

Jason Hayward said: “There was extensive dialogue in attempts to mediate.

“As the dialogue continued, it became clear that the parties were at an impasse and no further progress was being made.”

Mr Hayward was speaking after 32 staff at Stevedoring Services, all members of the Bermuda Industrial Union, walked off the job on November 19 and later reduced their cargo offloads to essential items only.

He said the standoff was “unfortunate” because of the major impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on jobs and the economy.

Mr Hayward added the Government would now “respect the dispute resolution” process now under way.

He said he was confident the essential service would “fully resume” after negotiations.

Mr Hayward also revealed there were 2,163 people on Financial Assistance on November 20.

He said 141 recipients were able-bodied unemployed, 769 were disabled, 223 were low earners and 1,030 were pensioners.

Mr Hayward added 58 people were on the Government’s supplemental unemployment fund, which began after an 18-week unemployment benefits scheme for workers hit by the pandemic ended.

That figure was a drop of 36 people on the previous month – all of whom had received redundancy payments after losing their jobs.

Mr Hayward warned that applicants to the Department of Financial Assistance were still making mistakes in their paperwork,

He said there had been “incidents of dishonesty”.

Mr Hayward added some applicants had tried to hide assets or failed to record all members of their household.

Mr Hayward also gave an update on training programmes at the Department of Workforce Development, which has teamed up with the MEF Group of restaurants to train 12 Bermudians as waiters.

The 15-week course was launched on November 23.

Mr Hayward said seven other industry-specific training programmes had been oversubscribed and nine candidates had been taken on for an apprenticeship training programme.

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Published December 01, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 30, 2020 at 8:02 pm)

Labour minister confident an end to docks dispute is in sight

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