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Business / Port authority responds to union announcement

LERWICK Port Authority (LPA) has expressed its disappointment after trade union Unite claimed earlier today (Monday) that long-running negotiations over pay, terms and conditions had broken down.

The union, representing a dozen port workers, announced a continuous overtime ban from 25 May.

The union’s move comes ahead of negotiations pencilled in for later this week.

Unite said their members at Lerwick Port Authority have been “significantly underpaid” for many years and are demanding the same rate other ports pay for the job.

However, the union also acknowledged that good progress had been made in these negotiations and that both parties were close to signing a deal.

Responding to Unite’s call for an overtime ban, the LPA’s chief executive Captain Calum Grains expressed some irritation with union tactics.

“It is very disappointing that, at this stage in the talks, Unite has called for a ban on voluntary overtime from 25 May, particularly since we continue to pursue constructive discussions with staff,” he said.

“We are working with them to find a solution.

“If action is taken, we will do our utmost to minimise disruption to port operations and our many users, including the community.”

Earlier today, Unite’s industrial officer John Clark, said: “The overtime ban will have a severe impact on the port’s operations because they rely on our members working extra hours to ensure no disruptions or delays.

“We warned weeks ago that unless there is progress in talks then we would re-start industrial action. The blames lies exclusively with the port authority who continue to pay well below the current national agreements which are set by industry-wide bodies.”

‘Breakdown in negotiations’ in port authority pay dispute, union says