Short-lived protest action at the port

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Protest action at the Antigua Port Authority was short-lived yesterday after longshoremen and operations staff refused to work because one of their colleagues was disciplined.
The actions started when employees were told a forklift driver was suspended from operation duties, but, would remain at work. The affected operator’s suspension yesterday stemmed from an incident at the port on November 24 where he reportedly struck a gate with a heavy-duty equipment.
The workers contend that their colleague did not deliberately hit the gate, which they said was not properly erected and it did not fall to the ground since the operator was able to secure it with the said forklift, and that no one was hurt by the accident.
The worker’s suspension letter which was read to OBSERVER media did not indicate when his operating duties would resume since he was required to meet with management. The disciplinary letter did not state a time for the
meeting.
“We don’t believe that he should be penalised for hitting the gate, so all that we are doing is just relaxing until they sort it out. Without us nothing can carry on,” a protesting employee said.
Over 60 longshoremen, truck drivers, forklift stackers and crane operators are employed at the port.
Members of the management team met with the shop steward Greg Steward, who told OBSERVER media, “The situation has been resolved.”
The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes and work resumed at approximately 11 a.m.
One employee is adamant: “Management had no case against the guy, because if we can protest and they meet right after and decide to pull back the decision, then they had no grounds to suspend the man. They know they made a mistake and we not standing for any unfair punishment.”
Operations at the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority came to a crawl yesterday because the workers who off-load the ships and clear the shipping containers did not work for approximately two hours.

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