Port workers told to improve performance
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November 23, 2012

Port workers told to improve performance

Government officials are hoping that new machinery and a pay raise would result in an improved standard of work exhibited by the management and staff at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority.{{more}}

Prime Minister and minister with responsibility for ports Dr Ralph Gonsalves, along with Chairman of the Authority Edwin Snagg called on port workers to lift their game in the delivery of service, last Friday at the Campden Park port, during the commissioning of a $1.7 million reach stacker.

Just before announcing a three per cent pay increase across the board at the port, Snagg told the gathering that he would not be expecting indolence from the workers, whom he said must be commended for doing “a fairly reasonable job”.

“Now after we spend EC$1.7 million, if there is any lethargy with this piece of equipment from any group or individual with relation to this spending, you know what the end result going to be.

“This is the taxpayers’ money. We can’t play with it. And we’ve had instances where we’ve had serious equipment damage here because of lethargic reasons, and it’s something that cannot be tolerated, because after you invest you must take care of it…. The management of the port authority will hit the roof if anybody gets lethargic towards the maintenance of this equipment,” Snagg said.

He urged the employees not to be swayed by negative remarks aimed at them from time to time, but to continue working well, and doing what we has to be done in the interest of the nation.

“Nobody takes into consideration whenever the port authority goes beyond the norm of its duties, and when employees come here at odd hours. Nobody takes these things into consideration, but they are quick to utter the condemnation if there is a shortcoming.

“But we hope that bringing this equipment is going to relieve a lot of these negativity that we hear from the naysayers. But we move on as an institution, as an entity that is part and parcel of the administration of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and we are doing it well.”

The prime minister, in his remarks, called on the port workers and port police to show respect and use reasonable force when dealing with customers and property at the venues.

“The property which comes in at the port doesn’t belong to you; it belongs to the consignees and it pains me every now and again when I hear that there is disrespect as regards the ownership of property…. And when I hear that a fella who supposed to use the machinery ‘bad use’ it or that he has some little vanity problem with a supervisor or a manager and he wants to take it out on the supervisor or the manager or the port to mash up the thing, well, all it does: it sets back the Port Authority and it sets you back because you might be asked to go home, so we all have to be very responsible.

“The port police have a difficult job, but the authority with which a port police officer is clothed is not a licence to disrespect people who come to the port, be rude to them or to use unreasonable force in relation to individuals, because the people who come to the port and do business with the port are those indirectly who employing you in the port police.

“You have to carry out your job fairly and with discipline, but you have all the time to be careful not to use more force than is reasonably necessary in all the circumstances, and don’t feel that the authority that you have is a cloak for any bad behaviour,” he added.

Dr Gonsalves’ admonitions were not only directed to the workers:

“I want to also say this: that not only the port workers, but the port management. We have to have productivity in the port management to the highest degree.

“We can’t have persons who in the management in the port, who are involved in what I may call dramathergy, impression management: you behave as though you busy, but you busy doing nothing. We have to be able to be busy doing something. I am speaking generally.

“….There is a minority and a substantial minority in certain areas of work, who prefer leisure, pleasure and nice time, but a progressive society cannot be founded on leisure, pleasure, and nice time, because leisure, pleasure and nice time must be financed by work and production.

“So, a progressive society has to have as its focus work, to be balanced by leisure, pleasure and nice time, so it is important that we understand the importance of working….”

The newly acquired machine, the HYSTER C222 RS 45-31, can lift a 45 ton container, and stack containers five high.

Six workers are to be trained to operate the machine, which can stack up to 18 containers per hour.

Four forklifts which were also purchased with the reach stacker, have not yet been received.