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JAMAICA | Prime Minister asked to intervene into dispute at the Port of Kingston

Featured People’s National Party (PNP) Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Mr. Mikael Phillips People’s National Party (PNP) Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Mr. Mikael Phillips
Kingston, Jamaica, January 10, 2019: The Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Mr. Mikael Phillips, is calling for the immediate intervention of Prime Minister Andrew Holness into a dispute at the Kingston Container Terminal that is threatening the shutdown of the ports if not resolved swiftly.

Mr. Phillips said the operations at the Port of Kingston could be affected by industrial action as early as Monday, January 14, 2019, when Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) will withdraw the provision of lashing services to vessels calling at the port, which are owned or operated by the non-compliant shipping lines.

Jamaica’s stellar record of industrial harmony is now at risk, the Unions representing the workers follow through on their notice of industrial action, Mr. Phillips said.

He said the dispute over the non-payment of lashing services, a vital element of the stevedoring services, charged by the SAJ to shipping vessels at the port is untenable.

According to Mr. Phillips, the SAJ is claiming that it has exhausted all available channels and remains open to further dialogue, but the outstanding amount owed to the Association must be remitted immediately to prevent the withdrawal of services to shipping vessels entering the ports of Kingston.

The Shadow Minister said the government has been aware from as far back as June 2016 of the nature of the dispute between the SAJ and at least two of the major shipping lines using the ports. He said the failure to put forward a formula to resolve the impasse now threatens to disrupt trade and commerce, and the livelihood of the many users of the facility if not resolved before the current ultimatum expires.

Mr. Phillips said he decided to make this public call on the Prime Minister as the portfolio Minister to intervene after receiving information from multiple sources that any form of industrial action at the facility at this time would impact negatively on the country’s reputation and would bring the entire operations of the port into disrepute.

“This dispute has been languishing for too long, involving mediation and court action, but it can be resolved if given the necessary focus and priority,” he said.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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