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Bharath: More engagement needed at PoS port
Trade, Investment and Communications Minister Vasant Bharath yesterday called for greater communication among the Chief Personnel Officer, the management of the port of Port-of-Spain and the union representing port workers. Bharath was speaking as port workers ended one week of protest action aimed at drawing attention to delays in concluding a new collective agreement for them.
The existing collective agreement expires next month and president of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Trade Union (SWWTU) Michael Annisette said the union has had no signal from the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) about returning to the bargaining table to start talks for the next collective period.
With the workers returning to work, Bharath said: “The fact that the CPO has not yet been able to respond with regard to an offer made by the management, I spoke to Minister Howai about this matter last night. We’ve instructed the CPO to at least write to the management to better engage with the union, to get them back on the job.
“We’ve got to sharpen our relations with the trade union. We’ve got to be more collaborative. We’ve got to ensure that things work more smoothly. We’ve got to ensure that a new culture flows in, otherwise all of the backend work that we are doing comes to nought.” Bharath was speaking with reporters yesterday during the lunch break of the GE T&T (General Electric) one day conference which was held at the Hilton. Annisette confirmed there would be regular dialogue with the first meeting commencing next Tuesday.
“The Minister of Labour would have summoned a meeting between the two parties at the Ministry of Labour yesterday (Tuesday), we met at 2.30 pm, and coming out of that meeting I would have expressed concern on those issues. “We (also) met with the CPO yesterday (Tuesday) and they wanted more time so we agreed that we would meet next week Tuesday, but with the clear understanding, that the management must come back with concrete proposals for us to start negotiations.”
He is not ruling out another stoppage if the management does not come to the table with concrete proposals.