The Island’s Port Workers have aborted a previously imposed ban on overtime work at the Front Street docks, following a recent vote by the sector’s unionised members.

Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) president Chris Furbert Sr revealed the move to end the action yesterday, during a media conference aired live by TNN, which can be viewed in its entirety on our Facebook site.

The dispute, which remains ongoing, has at its root the 2020 firing of the union boss’ son Chris Furbert Jr, for what Stevedoring Services Limited (SSL), deemed as gross misconduct toward Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Warren Jones of Polaris, the parent company to Stevedoring Services Limited (SSL).

An alleged altercation between Furbert Jr and Jones during a meeting resulted in police being called to intervene and investigate the incident, however the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ultimately deemed there to have been no case to answer.

Regardless, Furbert Jr had his position at SSL terminated as a result, triggering an appeal for reinstatement of the worker being made by the union to Labour Minister Jason Hayward, who then referred the matter to be heard by an industrial tribunal.

SSL contested this and asked for a judicial review of the situation, on the basis that no grievance had been filed by the individual relative to the termination, which Jones asserted to have been required as part of the collectively bargained agreement between the unionised workers and the company.

The Supreme Court disagreed with the company’s stance and ruled in favour of arbitration, with SSL appealing the decision, which led to the workers effecting what amounted to a work-to-rule.

But, with revenue sharing a key element of the workers’ agreement with SSL, and court costs mounting, concerns relevant to the impact of funds having to be apportioned toward payment of legal fees, thus negatively impacting the potential income of both sides, the workers caved, calling for a cessation of the ban implemented in late February.

“The monthly dashboard shows extremely high legal cost with no end in sight,” wrote Otis Minors, leader of the Port Workers in an email to the BIU leadership. “The port workers division have been involved in profit sharing with SSL for several years and these legal costs are directly impacting what we the workers would receive in our portion of profit sharing.”

While denying suggestions of nepotism based on the involvement of his son, the BIU president vowed to continue the fight to have the former employee reinstated.

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