By Theresa Goodwin
What may have been a grueling two-hour wait for residents wishing to do business at the port yesterday has had positive consequences for Port Authority workers who will receive a 2.5% bonus in the coming days. .
Employees took a break from work for about two hours on Wednesday morning and demanded an immediate meeting with management on the issue of bonuses and other industrial relations matters that had been on the table for some time.
During the meeting, residents who hoped to empty barrels, boxes and other business stood outside in the scorching sun as they patiently waited to see whether or not they could complete their activities.
A few of them also left after expressing frustration with the process and that they were receiving little or no information from security personnel telling everyone at the front door to wait. in the tent because no one was allowed to enter.
Things returned to normal shortly before 11 a.m. when the meeting with the workers ended.
Antigua Ports Authority CEO Darwin Telemaque told Observer that yesterday was the deadline for concluding a series of talks on annual bonuses for 2021 and the meeting was held there. respect.
He said that following discussions with workers and representatives of the Antigua Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) and the Antigua Trades and Labor Union (AT&LU), all parties agreed to the bonus of 2.5% offered by the port management.
“We were very happy that the workers saw fit to accept the offer; it is an offer which is difficult for the port itself because we are not in a very solid financial situation.
“But, given the challenges we have faced over the years and the many issues and concerns that have been raised, we thought it would have been appropriate to at least make the effort,” Telemaque said.
He also revealed that the parties had reached consensus on another bonus issue which is now before the court.
“The union and the staff raised the issue of the bonus they asked for in 2020 and we came to an agreement on that as well.
“We agreed to a payout of around two percent in the first part of 2022. This is also something that we have concluded and put behind us and we hope that in the future we would not be not in such contentious positions, “Telemaque added.
Meanwhile, ABWU Deputy General Secretary Chester Hughes said workers called for the meeting yesterday after believing negotiations had dragged on for too long.
“All the problems have been solved; we will have further consultations on the royalty because they have submitted a number of workers to us who have to pay royalties.
“However, the shop steward and works council had some issues, so port management agreed that they would get all the information we need and we will have further discussions on this,” said Hughes. .
A charge is a form of service charge that is paid by ships that dock at the port, and this amount is managed by the port and paid directly to certain categories of workers.