President of the Seaman and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) Michael Annisette has said any blame for delayed ferry sailings should be aimed at the government and not at the union.
He also denied that any delay in testing cruise-ship passengers for covid19 was the fault of the union.
He was responding to critics of the union's continued protest action at the Port of Spain port
Speaking with Newsday during a demonstration on Wednesday, Annisette said the protest was twofold, as it sought to highlight the poor working conditions of the workers and a delay in negotiations with the Ministry of Finance over benefits.
He said while the union was offered a meeting with representatives from the ministry next Tuesday, the workers would have preferred a meeting this week to address some of the issues expeditiously.
On reports that the protests were hampering passengers of the Enchantress of the Seas from being tested for coronavirus, Annisette said the matter could easily be resolved if government agreed to meet with the union sooner.
"If the protest is alleged to be doing all that, why can't you find the time to meet with the workers' representatives? That is all that is required, an hour(-long) meeting.
"They are not going to lay blame at the doorsteps of the workers. The ball is in the government's court. And if you have all that information, wouldn't that prompt any sensible and responsible government to meet with the workers?"
Describing the conditions of port workers as "deplorable," Annisette said there was an infestation of rats and pigeons causing serious health and safety concerns among staff.
A media release from the TT Inter-island Transportation Company Ltd on Wednesday said the 1 pm sailing of the MV Cabo Star from Port of Spain had been cancelled.
But the release also said the Cabo Star would sail from Scarborough at 11 pm as scheduled.
On Tuesday the company announced delays in the sailing times of the both vessels owing to the protests.