Not a good sign when all three cargo ships are “in town and musical chairs being played”.
And when it’s all said and done – expect future delays to strain Bermuda’s supply chains “and causing more challenges during the pandemic”.
That was just one of the many sentiments expressed on the local social media circuit as the labour dispute at the Hamilton Docks dragged on, until the Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward ordered dock workers back to work.
This after mediation efforts to resolve the dispute that led to the seven-day slowdown failed, leaving perishable goods in refrigerated containers that arrived here last Thursday to go stale – just in time for Thanksgiving Day meals.
When contacted by Bermuda Real, Warren Jones, the CEO of Polaris Holding Company – the parent company of Stevedoring Services, said the refrigerated containers were offloaded by Tuesday evening.
But he said all three cargo ships that service Bermuda will not be cleared to leave until all the cargo has been offloaded, which means future arrivals will ultimately delayed in the lead up to the Christmas shopping season and in the midst of a global pandemic.
In a Government statement released last evening, the Minister, Jason Hayward referred the dispute to the Labour Disputes Tribunal, after mediation failed to break through the impasse between Stevedoring Services and the Bermuda Industrial Union.
Once a dispute has been referred to the Tribunal, any industrial action is deemed illegal.
According to the statement: “In accordance with section 19 of the Labour Disputes Act 1992, any lockout strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike is unlawful and any person who takes part in, incites or in any way encourages, persuades or influences any person to take part in, or otherwise acts in furtherance of, a lock-out, strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike that is unlawful under this section is guilty of an offence.”
“The Government will continue to work with the parties involved to resolve this dispute,” said Mr Hayward.
“I am hopeful that the parties will find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible as it is in the public interest that the services at the dock can fully resume.”
At the centre of the dispute is the five-day suspension of the union’s divisional president, who held a meeting with dock workers that was deemed unauthorised by the company’s management.
The 32 dock workers downed tools last Thursday when their colleague was suspended
Up until yesterday, only containers carrying essential cargo were offloaded.
The Bermuda Islander arrived on the same day the dispute started. The Oleander arrived on Monday and the Somers Isles arrived in Bermuda on Tuesday.
Once all of their cargo has been offloaded, including Christmas trees, the Bermuda Islander will be the first to leave.