The Oleander is expected to arrive in Bermuda on January 7. *File photo
The Oleander is expected to arrive in Bermuda on January 7. *File photo

FRIDAY, DEC. 28: A strike by US port workers that could have impacted ships serving Bermuda has been temporarily called off.

As a result the Oleander is expected to leave New Jersey next Friday and arrive in Hamilton as per her original schedule on the morning of January 7.

The threat by Longshoremen in New Jersey to strike over container royalties had put the Bermuda Container Line service from New Jersey to Bermuda in jeopardy.

But BCL was told this morning that negotiations between International Longshoremen's Association, which provides the stevedoring labour to the Oleander, and the Employer's Group on the US East Coast, had been extended for 30 days and the strike had been called off temporarily.

A BCL statement said: "This means that we will be sailing Oleander Voyage 1686E from NJ on Friday January 4th.

"We anticipate that both sides will come to an agreement prior to the end of this 30 day extension.

"We will continue to keep you informed of any news we receive as soon as we receive it."

A statement released by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington confirmed that an agreement had been reached between the two sides.

FMCS Director George H Cohen said: “The container royalty payment issue has been agreed upon in principle by the parties, subject to achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement.

"The parties have further agreed to an additional extension of 30 days (i.e., until midnight, January 28, 2013) during which time the parties shall negotiate all remaining outstanding Master Agreement issues, including those relating to New York and New Jersey.

“Given that negotiations will be continuing and consistent with the Agency’s commitment of confidentiality to the parties, FMCS shall not disclose the substance of the container royalty payment agreement.

"What I can report is that the agreement on this important subject represents a major positive step toward achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement.

"While some significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the upcoming 30-day extension period.”