President of the Tippers Truckers Association Earl Laudat said a meeting with the company responsible for the construction of the Portsmouth Fisheries Complex did not end satisfactorily since truckers are not pleased with the agreement reached.
On Wednesday, just before 7:00 a.m., approximately 40 truckers went on location at the site looking for work, since only foreign truckers were employed on that project.
Laudat said the truckers were not staging a protest. “We went to look for work … It was not a matter of protest, it was about looking for work and bringing the amount of trucks we feel they would need. If they needed two they would get two, if they needed 20 they would get 20,” he told Dominica News Online.
At the scene, Laudat claimed the truckers exhibited discipline and their presence there was peaceful. He noted that police officers were present, but said he did not see the need.
“We wanted a fair share of the pie … We’re a very peaceful set of people; we’re very smart and intelligent young men… a lot of people have the impression that the trucker is a fellow who never went to school and any work he get he will do,” he added.
He said he is not pleased with subsequent negotiations on the matter, and disclosed that another discussion would ensue this afternoon.
“They agreed to give us work after a three hour discussion with them; they agreed on our rates. The agreement is if they need us they would use us, which we didn’t agree to that. They would only give us work if their trucks break down and if their trucks parked there’ll be no need for us,” he explained.
According to Laudat, four St. Lucian truckers are employed with the company.
Parliamentary Representative of Portsmouth Ian Douglas and Minister of Fisheries Dr. Kenneth Darroux also met with the truckers. Laudat described the discussion as a nice one and he thanked the government ministers for listening to their problems.
“Hopefully Monday we will come to a resolution, something that both parties can be happy about,” he said.
Laudat did not indicate what their next move would be if the situation does not end in their favour.
“I cannot say what will happen or what wouldn’t happen. I’ll just be leading an organization on behalf of 80, 90 truckers. There’s nothing I can say at present. Whatever the truckers say that is what will [happen],” he stated.