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Dock action could soon go before arbitrator

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Shelves were stacked up yesterday afternoon as supermarkets reported minor disruption due to the Hamilton Dock dispute.

And retailers were hopeful dockworkers’ overtime ban will soon be over, after Economy Minister Kim Wilson confirmed she has served an arbitration notice.

Some had feared shoppers would face rows of empty shelves throughout the day as meat, dairy products and other perishables were not unloaded from the containers aboard the

Oleander on Sunday evening because of Bermuda Industrial Union’s ban on weekend work for dockworkers.

But Supermart president Tredick Gorham said items reached his stores by noon, rendering it a relatively minor inconvenience.

“Routinely, particularly in winter, the ship comes a day later, so the idea of us not getting food until Monday afternoon is not unusual,” Mr Gorham told

The Royal Gazette.

“In a perfect world the ship comes on time and we get the stock very early on Monday morning. But it’s not a perfect world so we are used to dealing with it coming late.

“They appeared to work pretty fast this morning to get us what we needed.”

Lindo’s Group manager Zach Moniz said his store received products just before lunch time; he added that, while that was four hours later than normal, things could have been much worse.

Forty dockworkers are working from 8am to noon, and from 1pm to 4.30pm, from Monday to Friday only as a result of the overtime ban.

This meant the

Oleander, which is normally unloaded on Sunday evening, sat at the dock with its containers untouched until yesterday morning.

The ban went into effect last Wednesday after a breakdown in negotiations between the BIU and dock managers Stevedoring Services; 25 workers had declined a request to work three- or four-day weeks depending on the number of ships arriving in a cost-cutting measure.

Sen Wilson told this newspaper she had served a binding arbitration notice at lunch time, with a tribunal to take place as soon as possible.

Mr Gorham said he believes this means the issue will be settled by the time the

Oleander calls again next weekend.

Stevedoring Services declined to comment yesterday, while BIU president Chris Furbert did not respond to a request for comment.

Work gets on the way at the Hamilton Docks Monday morning trucks were lined up to be loaded and unloaded with hundreds of containers that would have been originally moved off the docks on Sunday night but do to the over time ban work dock was extremely busy the next morning. The container ships Oleander and Somers Isle which would have usually left first thing Monday morning will now leave on Tuesday ( Photo by Glenn Tucker )

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Published August 16, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 16, 2011 at 9:19 am)

Dock action could soon go before arbitrator

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