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Poll to decide Port union Friday

Poll to decide Port union Friday


The industrial tide at the Kingstown Port seems to be turning somewhat. A poll is expected to be held today Friday March 3. That will determine which union has the right to represent workers there. The fight is between the Commerical Technical and Allied Workers’ Union (CTAWU) and the National Workers’ Movement (NWM). {{more}}

However, developments this week attracted attention to the Port. A meeting was convened last Wednesday involving Noel Jackson, NWM’s general secretary, Acting Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker, and Minister responsible for Labour, Rene Baptiste. Jackson was accompanied by a number of Port workers.

The NWM was galvanised into action after seven workers on the Port were sent dismissal letters.

Jackson, speaking after Wednesday’s meeting declared: “We would have arrived at some positions that for the time being we would work with.”

He spoke of a meeting of the Board scheduled for Friday at the latest which, according to him, was called “to consider some proposals that we put on the table to address the situation.”

Jackson added that his Union will be involved “in any further restructuring exercise that is going to take place on the Port.”

Jackson mentioned that his organisation “put some proposals on the table in relation to how we address the current situation and to bring some respectability to it.”

“We are asking that some persons be reconsidered for reinstatement, and that the period of payment in lieu of notice to some employees be extended to the end of April,” Jackson stated.

As far as Jackson was concerned, the Poll announced for today has been “put on hold for the time being while we make an assessment properly of the membership of the Port.”

“I don’t think that the Port Council is satisfied that the advice that was given by the Labour Commissioner fits the situation at the Port,” Jackson went on.

Acting Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker confirmed that the NWM had made certain recommendations for the authorities to consider.

He acknowledged that cabinet had recommended some restructuring.

“It was out of this restructuring procedure that we had certain redundancies,” Sir Louis mentioned.

“It is not an easy thing because nobody would ever want to volunteer to become redundant. Whoever becomes redundant it is always a bitter or sad experience,” the Acting Prime Minister stated.

Sir Louis seemed receptive to the NWM’s proposal which, according to him, “would look favourably on.”

The Acting Prime Minister also spoke of plans to “assist those who are terminated with alternative employment, and where possible we would assist them with skills training.”

Labour Minister Rene Baptiste said, “New information has come to my attention which I would like to discuss with the technical people.”

She confirmed that there would be a poll.

On the other hand, CTAWU’s general secretary, Lloyd Small was perplexed about the developments on the Port. He disclosed that the poll had been planned for last Wednesday.