TUESDAY, JANUARY 8: Dock workers have gone back to work and are now unloading the Oleander, the Bermuda Sun can reveal.

The ongoing dispute between Stevedoring Services Ltd and the firm's employees over lay offs had prompted workers to walk out yesterday morning.

But shipping agents were told earlier today that workers would return to the dock and start unloading the Oleander at 2pm.

The exact terms of the agreement are not known at present, but it is believed the workers will work overtime to unload the ship.

A statement released by the Oleander's agents, Container Ship Management, said: "We have been informed the discharge of the Oleander will commence at 1400 today.  We will be requesting a late gate to accommodate our customers. 

"Provided all goes well with the discharge, we will be departing Wednesday morning for NJ and will be able to keep our schedule with 1687 arriving Monday January 14."

TUESDAY, JANUARY 8, 3:30PM: The Minister of Home Affairs, Sen. The Hon. Michael Fahy, announced this afternoon that he has today met and worked with both Stevedoring Services Limited (SSL) and the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) to reach an agreement that would see all parties cease and desist any further action as it relates to their ongoing dispute at this time.  

And it is understood that SSL workers resumed their duties this afternoon.

Minister Fahy confirmed that it is the Ministry’s intention to refer the matter to the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal for settlement with effect from tomorrow, 9th January, 2013.

Minister Fahy said, "The Ministry recognises that the public is growing increasingly weary regarding matters of industrial action such as this.

"Business operations on our docks represent a vital and essential service for our Island, and these disruptions to our trade and commerce is something that our Country just cannot - and should not have to endure at this critical juncture.

"Today, I listened intently to both sides, and appreciated their advocacy regarding the various sides of the issue. And it is our hope that over the course of the next few weeks, meaningful solutions can be mapped out so that all parties involved can benefit."

The Minister also confirmed that it is the Ministry’s intention to ensure that Arbiters hears and makes an award regarding the dispute within a 40-day period.