‘Christmas barrels’ stuck as port workers strike
More than 1,200 workers employed to Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited, the largest terminal at Port Bustamante, are now off the job putting a halt to the movement of cargo during one of the busiest periods at the port.
A short while ago, Barry Dawes, general secretary of the Trade Union Congress, which represents the workers, told The Gleaner that the workers were pushed into taking industrial action because of the disrespectful attitude of the CEO of the company.
According to Dawes, following the negotiation of a new wage and fringe benefits agreement, the workers were presented with a document to sign yesterday which they could not accept.
“We were given a document for a new wage agreement which did not accurately reflect what was agreed in the terms of the job evaluation and the date of payment of the retroactive amounts,” said Dawes.
“And when we refused to sign he walked out of the meeting and said he would sign his copy. But that is the general disrespectful behaviour of the CEO. He walks out of workers meetings when he is asked questions, he calls staff meeting and walks out,” added Dawes.
The union leader accepted that the timing of the work stoppage at the port will be very disruptive particularly for persons waiting on personal supplies shipped in barrels by relatives for Christmas.
“We regret the inconvenience but the time of the protest was not predetermined. it was triggered by the disrespectful behaviour in the meeting yesterday,” declared Dawes as he pleaded with the public to understand the action of the workers.