SLASPA proposes privatizing dockworker services

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SLASPA proposes privatizing dockworker services

GIS – The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) is currently assessing its operations in an effort to improve efficiency and drive the profitability of SLASPA.

As a result, the association has proposed an alternative system of  employment for stevedores, the dockworkers who load and unload cargo from ships.

SLASPA General Manager, Keigan Cox, said the proposal is one of many that is first being discussed in the public forum for review and advice on how such arrangements may affect the various stakeholders.

“This is a proposed framework, but we are engaging [stakeholders] for discussion, for review, and advice before implementation,” he began. “It seeks to reform the current labor regime for stevedoring. We want to allow the formation of labor companies that own and develop relationships with shipping entities and provide a service to them.”

The arrangement will allow stevedores several benefits, he said.

“This allows better ownership of their future; the opportunity to benefit from a severance package; and likewise facilitate and assist with the development of a commercial entity that provides labor services to SLASPA and other entities involved in the trade of shipping.”

Cox revealed that SLASPA has already begun negotiations in Vieux Fort and hopes to apply a similar arrangement at Port Castries.

In Vieux Fort, a Memorandum of Understanding has been formulated for signing, upon which SLASPA will make severance payments, and assist with technical support for the formation of the labor company.

“We wish to take the same concept to Port Castries,” Cox explained. “We have had discussions with the seamen’s union and we have received their consideration to continue those discussions. We want to ensure that this is supported by competitive pricing and that it will allow the stevedores greater ownership of their future.”

SLASPA will provide technical support on health and safety standards, Cox added, but the development of the business, and the provision of the service will be up to the workers.

“Times have changed, and this service requires reform, investment, partnership and [a plan] that seeks to drive profits,” he said. ” If we don’t do so, we will not be able to attract business to our shores, or be able to retain employment, or grow the business. If we don’t do so, SLASPA will fail.”

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6 COMMENTS

  1. If they cannot run a small organisation on a small island, What are they doing in that JOB!!?? WHY and HOW did they get that job!!?? WHY do they think a private run company can do better? if that is the case, they show how useless they are. WE always get people who apply for jobs that they can't do and get them, NO skills what so ever; then they make a MESS of things and no one sacks them?. Imaging employing a builder to improve your home and he cause structural damage and it becomes unsafe to live in, WHAT is the best course of action? do you let him continue to demolish the building to fall on you? OR get rid of him before it is too late?. BUT I think the Private company will be run by them or members of their Family (nepotism). WATCH and see!!

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  2. There are just some thing that has to remain in the hands and control of gov't. Privatization has never worked in St. Lucia and the SLP government under the stewardship of Dr. Kenny Anthony has a reputation for privatization and or encouraging privatization. Remember, the now defunct SLBGA once the backbone of the St. Lucian economy? In the budget we heard of plans are a foot to privatize the HIA now its the dock workers.

    Whats next? The public sector workers?

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  3. when you are in your beds fast asleep the stevedore are on the dangerous ports working their guts out then you want to pay them a flat rate this is outrageous they are human too their have family, children and wife

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