While negotiations between the company Luis Ayala ColÃ³n – operator of the San Juan Muelle – and the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA Local 1740) should be concluded tomorrow (Saturday), the secretary of the Department of Labor and Human Resources (DTRH) ), Carlos Rivera Santiago, revealed that on Monday they would conduct a visual inspection of the functions and operations of the docks, to clarify the labor controversy that arose in the process.
The controversy revolves around the figure of the âverifierâ, who is the person responsible for checking where the containers arriving at the port are placed. The task – which requires the use of a tablet computer – was the reason that triggered the strike and stopped the handling of 5,000 containers of international cargo, and caused the withdrawal of several ships, costing Puerto Rico over $ 100 million in losses. The question is who should perform this function.
The secretary of the DTRH indicated that of the four articles of the collective agreement under discussion, one has already been approved by the parties and two are advanced, but a controversy over the auditor, which he hopes to be clarified on Monday.
While Rivera is confident a deal can be reached, he admits that if it is not finalized, the government has no jurisdiction to intervene.
If this is the case, the responsibility would lie with the federal government through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the National Labor Relations Board.
âAs in any negotiation, there are ups and downs, but it has a positive rhythm. We meet twice a week; sometimes in the employer’s premises and other times in the ministry, and we have made progress. We are confident that on Monday we will be able to move forward after the inspection we are going to carry out, âthe official said.
âThe parties wanted to sit around the table, dialogue and shed some light. We also offer other mechanisms to move the process forward, âhe added. Among the mechanisms offered, he mentioned expertise and assistance in health and safety.
âThere is always a way out, but it depends on the goodwill of the parties. From the previous experience, all parties have learned and realized that a new shutdown is not suitable for anyone. The employer lost money for not being able to receive the merchandise, the union members for not being able to earn a salary, and the people for not being able to receive the merchandise. Nobody wins here, âhe stressed.