The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association says it is concerned with the recent disruption of the services at the port of Port of Spain.
“This repeated and apparent predictable action can result in mounting port rent, demurrage charges and raw material shortages resulting in the inability to meet customer’s demands in a timely fashion. These disruptions can also lead to increasing the cost of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago, resulting in consumers having to pay more for goods and services,” the TTMA said in a statement yesterday.
Daily-paid workers at the port refused to work one shift on Tuesday and another on Wednesday because of what they described as an unsatisfactory wage increase offer.
But the TTMA said whereas efforts are being made to reduce the cost of doing business in other areas, “it comes to naught if trade facilitation measures and border agencies are not operating in an optimal fashion”.
The business group said manufacturers are asked to compete in a global environment where it is critical to maintain and reduce cost as much as possible just to be able to secure market share globally, regionally and nationally.
“Thus, this type of industrial action is not conducive for producers and consumers alike and can only serve to erode the limited competitive advantages for business in the country as well as add to increase inflationary pressure on the consumers.”
The TTMA said it was aware that the issues surrounding these industrial unrests are not easily resolved and are challenging to all parties concerned.
“However, the Association is calling on all parties involved – the government, the labour union and the port management to work together in a meaningful way to bring some resolution the situation. It is imperative that action be taken immediately to chart a way forward that speaks to transparency, accountability, fairness and equitability where all parties’ concerns are considered,” the TTMA said.
“The port operations in this country are of paramount importance to the trading environment and to operate in a climate that is not predictable acts as a disincentive to the business fraternity in Trinidad and Tobago. Thus, the TTMA is pleading with the relevant parties involved in the dispute to work together in a timely fashion to bring back some level of normalcy to the operations on the port.”