FRIDAY, NOV. 30: A stalemate between Stevedoring Services and its unionized workers looks set to lead to layoffs at Hamilton Docks.
The two sides have been unable to come to an agreement over working hours and pay despite ongoing negotiations.
As a result around 20 Stevedoring Services workers will be given two weeks’ notice today that the firm will begin imposing temporary layoffs when there is no work to do. It is unclear at the moment exactly how many staff the layoffs will ultimately affect.
The dispute is centred around ‘unproductive time’ at the docks when workers do not have anything to do because the volume of containers has gone down in the last year.
The Bermuda Sun understands that Stevedoring Services offered to pay the workers just over 50 per cent of their normal wage for time when there was no work to do and allow them to go home.
But this offer was rejected by the unionized workers.
As a result Stevedoring Services has told them that they will simply be sent home without pay when there is no work to do.
Shipping firms fear that the move could lead to industrial action from the workers that would severely affect the day-to-day operation of the port.
A source told the Sun: “We don’t expect the stevedores to take this lying down.
“We are bracing ourselves for the worst and fully expect sick-outs and an over-time ban, which has caused problems to the schedule in the past.
“It is going to affect the way everything works at the Docks and could lead to some disruption on the cargo ships.
“This has the potential to cause some serious problems to the running of Hamilton docks.”
Stevedoring Services boss Peter Aldrich would not comment on the situation last night. And efforts to contact the BIU proved unsuccessful.