July 30, 2021
AFTER allegedly staging a sick-out this week, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union is now looking to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to assist with propelling its needs forward.
According to a well-placed Tribune source, 80 percent of Bahamas Power and Light’s staff across The Bahamas called in sick on Wednesday and seemingly forced management to call a press conference to address its outstanding matters with the union.
The Tribune obtained a copy of a document issued by BPL’s executive management to the BEWU during a negotiation session on Tuesday. The document indicated that BPL was not in a financial position to provide increments in addition to what it is already providing on an annual basis. The union found the document unacceptable.
The letter, dated July 27, 2021, was signed by BPL Executive Director Hugh P. Rollins and proposed that the union and the company sign a two-year industrial agreement that would expire in 2023. The letter also indicated that following the expiration of that agreement, a new industrial agreement should be signed for another two-year period.
That letter also proposed that provisions of the expired industrial agreement, as it pertains to benefits, remain as is and that all employees receive lump sum payments on the date of signing the industrial agreement and on August 1, 2022 which would be equivalent to their regular Christmas bonus.
Speaking with The Tribune on Friday, BEWU president, Kyle Wilson said he was “recovering” and now looks to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister to step in as they promised they would.
“As you know I was in bed all day,” Wilson said. “I was not feeling well after I would have received that proposal. It did something to me mentally as well as physically. My stomach started to break down on me as I didn’t know how to even face the members with such a proposal. It was frustrating and I just took sick.
“I’m recovering and doing better, but something like that I can’t take to the membership. After almost eight years all you are going to give them is one lump sum equivalent to a Christmas bonus. It was a slap in the face and a strike to the gut. I felt bad for workers, period, not just my union, because if that is what they want to do to us, imagine what they will do to the others.
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