THE Maritime and Stevedoring Workers Union has rejected a 3% wage increase offer by Steamships but is hoping an amicable solution can be reached to avert industrial action.
Union president John Mahuk said the union, the Employers’ Federation and representatives of Steamships Shipping for the past two weeks had been attempting to resolve the current dispute in respect to the re-negotiation of the national awards covering stevedoring and other maritime workers.
Mr Mahuk said the union was pleased that progress had been made in the negotiations, with the stevedoring employers agreeing to withdraw their counter claims to increase the ordinary working week from 37 hours to 40 hours, reducing weekend overtime rate of pay and cutting ordinary hours of pay by using a 40 hours diviser.
He said the stevedoring employers had also confirmed an earlier agreement between the union and the Employers Federation for paid maternity leave for female stevedoring workers, an increase in the casual stevedoring loading to 26% and an increase in the heavy duty allowance to K10 per week.
“However, the 6% wage increase agreed upon by the union and the Employers Federation was again rejected by the stevedoring employers who are now seeking to reduce the wage increase from 6% to 3% with 1.5% increase effective on Dec 7, 2007 and a 1.5% increase one year later.
“Members of the unions have refused to accept the reduced employer offer of 3% wage increase and the union is calling upon the stevedoring employers to honour the agreed 6% wage increase concluded in good faith last July and endorsed by the national executive of the Employers’ Federation,” Mr Mahuk said.
He said the secret ballot for industrial action is nearly completed and the result of the ballot should be declared sometime this week by the Electoral Commission.
“The union is still hopeful that an amicable resolution to the wage dispute is possible,” Mr Mahuk said.