November 20, 2012
After three days of carrying out industrial action, the 200 maintenance workers at the Ministry of Works yesterday agreed to tone down their quiet protest after government officials agreed to resolve some of their issues, The Nassau Guardian has learned. While the employees have not completely called off the work to rule, they will act in "good faith", Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President John Pinder said following a meeting with Minister of Works Philip Brave Davis yesterday. "We had the meeting and he agreed to address concerns," Pinder said.
The union president added that the union also had a follow up meeting with the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works, the director of works and other officials from the ministry. He told The Guardian last week that the issues revolve around the employees' inability to qualify for promotions and to receive hazard pay. 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.
"We were able to conclude that they will invite the maintenance staff to all consider a new career path which doesn't put all of those high qualifications on them in order to receive promotions. We are fashioning letters to deal with that issue. They are also presently trying to find the funds to deal with the hazard pay, and they also agreed that people who work overtime will receive overtime instead of time back, which is another issue for us," Pinder said.
The workers voted to work to rule last Wednesday. Pinder explained that work to rule means "they will go to work at 8 a.m., take their 15 minute 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." Pinder added that Ministry of Works officials have agreed to conclude the matters by Monday. Whether the union takes further action will depend on if the executives live up to their word, Pinder said. The maintenance department includes carpenters, plumbers, mechanics and electricians.
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