March 06, 2015
After months of demands, maintenance workers in the Ministry of Works will receive hazardous pay before the end of the month, according to Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development Arnold Forbes. Forbes said the matter was discussed in Cabinet on Tuesday.
He said despite an agreement in 2007 certain workers were "left out". "We have discussed it and we have included those workers," Forbes said. "That was really the hold up on the whole thing." Forbes said the government has determined how much is due to the workers, but he did not provide that figure.
The Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) has estimated workers are collectively owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Forbes said the Ministry of Works will compare figures with the BPSU next week to "come up with a good formulae to pay out".
"We are on track," he said. "It was discussed and we are trying to just finalize those payments." Last week, scores of maintenance workers at the Ministry of Works staged an emotionally charged protest behind the building off John F. Kennedy Drive.
During the protest members barred access to the gas station service pump. At one point, a man attempting to get gas got into a physical altercation with a maintenance worker, who refused to move. According to the BPSU, hundreds of employees are impacted by their inability to get hazardous pay. The maintenance department includes carpenters, plumbers, mechanics and electricians.
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