SJDC Employees on Edge Over Global Ports Entry into Antigua
Wednesday 13th February, 2019-Assurances have been given to employees of St. John’s Development Corporation that they will be apprised of the takeover of a large part of the country’s cruise port facilities by Global Ports.
SJDC workers downed tools this morning, expressing concerns over the security of their jobs in light of the announcement made by the government that an agreement has been reached with Global Ports Holding LLC (GPH) to invest over US$80 million dollars in the further development of the cruise tourism port in St. John’s.
But employees are unsure where they stand in all of it and went to their bargaining agents the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) seeking answers, after SJDC’s management attempted to hold a meeting on the subject.
AT&LU General Secretary Hugh Joseph says a lack of communication is behind the unease among members of staff.
The industrial action resulted in a meeting between union officials and the Minister with responsibility for St. John’s Development Corporation, Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, where it was agreed that information regarding the Global Ports takeover and how it will affect employees will be given to AT&LU. The workers have since resumed their duties.
According to the government, the agreement will allow Global Ports Holding LLC to bring its considerable financial strength and expertise to the expansion project at the cruise port, and to eliminate a debt of US$21 million that has been serviced sparingly for more than twenty years.
Global Ports will ensure that the completion of the dredging, already underway in the St. John’s Harbour, will allow the Oasis Class Ships, capable of carrying more than 6,000 passengers and 4,000 crew, to dock at a fifth berth parallel to the Point Wharf a statement outlined.
The agreement is for thirty years.
Wrapping up debate of the 2019 Budget in the House of Representatives two weeks ago, Prime Minister Gaston Browne assured staff of St. John’s Development Corporation that their jobs were secured with the Global Ports agreement.