November 16, 2012
A meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) officials will determine whether approximately 200 maintenance workers at the Ministry of Works carry out further industrial action, union president John Pinder said yesterday. According to Pinder, the Ministry of Works employees are on "work to rule" until Monday when they will meet with Davis, who is also the Minister of Public Works, in a bid to resolve their issues. He told The Nassau Guardian the issues revolve around their inability to get promotions and hazardous pay.
"They just want their hazardous pay as laid down in the industrial agreement," Pinder said. "That only speaks to them getting $1.75 more per hour while they work in these dusty areas or those who work around septic tanks, or real high hazardous areas. "In some instances it's only $1.50 per hour. That's only small change, so they're hoping that they're able to get that resolved." Pinder claimed that some of the workers have not received hazardous pay for over a year.
As it relates to promotions, Pinder said some employees believe the criteria needed in order to qualify for a promotion in the maintenance department are a little too stringent. He said the union has held discussions with the former administration and the current administration regarding both issues. However, nothing has been done, he claimed. "The guys are irate because promotions are coming out in other technical areas and not in their department.
The maintenance workers are being left behind. So the guys decided that enough is enough," Pinder said. "They are on work to rule until we get some resolution to those issues. Work to rule means they will go to work at 8 a.m., take their 15 minutes break, they will take their hour lunch break and they will leave work promptly at 4 p.m. They will not do anything extra or above the call of duty. We just hope that the government will recognize that it needs to award people who are performing." The maintenance department includes carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, and electricians.
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