February 16, 2021
The Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, which has ministerial responsibility for the Airport Authority, is aware of concerns being raised by Airport Authority employees through their Union, the Bahamas Public Services Union, about certain sums of money to be paid as a part of the Industrial Agreement. The Government of The Bahamas has agreed to pay all outstanding monies owed to the Airport Authority employees over a 6 month period commencing the March 2021 pay-period.
The Ministry has remained fully committed to honouring all agreed terms of the Industrial Agreement, and this has been communicated. The current financial constraints we face as a result of Covid-19 and its impact on our economy did not make it possible to honour these payments, and we ask for the continued patience of the Airport Authority and its employees as we rebuild our economy stronger and continue to demonstrate our promise to protecting jobs.
The Airport Authority generates its revenue from the air-traveling public by way of collection of security and related travel fees at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) and our 28 Family Island Airports. Despite a steep decline in revenue to only a fraction of what is required to honour our commitments, we have retained all of our 600 plus employees on full pay, notwithstanding the fact that the majority are working a significantly reduced workweek.
Specifically, all employees, with the exception of the Airport Screening and Security Departments, have been working approximately 20 hours weekly, with full pay, and during the peak of the Pandemic, most were not required to work at all as the airports were closed or operating on extremely limited schedules.
The Government of The Bahamas has demonstrated throughout the Pandemic and its overall paralyzing effect on the economy that we are committed to all employees engaged by the Public Service and our various Statutory Authorities and Corporations by way of the payment of all regular salary and benefit remuneration. The Airport Authority is no different, and we are fully committed to honouring all obligations. As demonstrated, we have strongly resisted furloughing employees and/or terminating anyone because of the Pandemic as we see the engagement of all of our employees as a part of the solution on our road to recovery and maintaining economic stability.
Our commitment to our employees has been particularly evident in the Aviation sector that has been hit very hard by the multiplying negative effects of the Pandemic, as evidenced by the passenger traffic activity at LPIA and all of our 28 Family Island Airports. Our commitment to our employees is further demonstrated by our proven focus on protecting jobs for the long run, and the Ministry of Tourism and the entire Government of The Bahamas view our workforce as one of our most important priorities
We therefore ask for the patience of the Airport Authority team and the Bahamas Public Services Union, as they exercise their rights in protesting and/or making any other public statements.
We confirm today that Airport Authority employees will be paid the agreed sums starting as early as the March 2021 pay period, over a 6-month time span.