Minister calls on union and dock bosses to solve dispute
Economy Minister Kim Wilson today called for union bosses and dock managers to solve their dispute to avoid a negative impact on trade.
Oleander is likely to be the only container ship facing unloading delays as a result of the overtime ban imposed by Bermuda Industrial Union, Senator Wilson said this afternoon.
But Sen Wilson says a labour relations officer will mediate the issue and she would refer it to arbitration if necessary.
She said she wants an agreement as quickly as possible to ensure there are no further negative effects on the economy.
“I can confirm I have received a notice from Stevedoring Services indicating that a labour dispute exists,” the Minister said in a statement.
“A labour relations officer will mediate this issue and liaise with the relevant parties with a view to seeking a solution to the matter.
“In the event that a settlement is not reached via mediation, as Minister, I will refer this matter to arbitration.
“However I must take this opportunity to address public concerns regarding the timely delivery of perishable and non perishable goods.
“There seems to be some unease in the community that the delivery of goods will be severely hindered due to the industrial action.
“It should be clearly pointed out that the overtime ban which has been instituted applies to the hours of 5.30pm to 10pm and on Sundays.
“As it relates to the delivery of produce: I have been advised that currently we have one container ship that comes in outside of regular weekday hours, and that is the Oleander, which typically arrives on Sundays.
“Ideally the preference is to unload the ship on Sunday when it arrives. However with the current overtime ban, it means that the Oleander will now be unloaded on Monday, and the produce will likely make it to the shelves a few hours later than normal. I think an important note for the public to understand is that current container loads are down, and thus reduced container loads, have resulted in reduced unloading times.
“That said, I am very cognisant of the current economic climate and the concerns expressed about any further hindrance to our trade and commerce.
“I want to again assure residents and businesses that I will be monitoring the situation very closely, and it is my hope that all parties can come to an agreement as swiftly as possible to ensure that there are no further negative effects on our economy.”