WORKERS at the Port of Port of Spain stayed off the job on Wednesday in protest over work conditions and the non-payment of a wage hike, Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) president Michael Annisette told Newsday today.
"Workers did not report to work on Wednesday, as a show of frustration."
He lamented that they had not yet got a 12 per cent pay hike agreed for the 2014-2017 period, saying their appeals have so far fallen on deaf ears.
“There’s a plethora of issues and workers feel they are not being treated fairly.”
Annisette said workers were also upset at the state of their surroundings, such as an infestation of rats and pigeons, plus potholes at the quayside that must be navigated by drivers of tractors and cranes.
Saying the port is generally a hazardous area, he claimed, “Some workers have not been given safety gear for years now."
Annisette lamented the recent death of a worker who had taken ill on the job, but then at Port of Spain General Hospital faced a five-hour delay for treatment, likely contributing to his death.
“Port workers want to get urgent attention, not wait five hours.”
He urged that the port should provide access to private medical treatment.
Also, he said, “Casual clerks have worked here for 30 or 40 years, but the port has given no consideration to making them permanent.”
While workers were back on the job today, Annisette vowed, “We are monitoring the situation.” He was due to meet the port chairman for a walkabout to view conditions.