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BEC Workers Back On The Job Meeting Set with Christie


The union representing angry workers at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) has gotten at least one step closer in their industrial fight as Prime Minister Perry Christie had promised that he and Labour Minister Shane Gibson would have met with them yesterday.

Up to press time, there was no word from Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Stephano Greene as to whether the meeting happened yesterday or not but before being given assurances that negotiations would resume, Mr. Greene led about 175 angry BEC workers at the Super Club Breezes where the prime minister had just finished addressing the Caribbean Growth Forum.

The angry mob stood across the street waiting on Prime Minister Christie chanting, “We want the prime minister,” had to be restrained by police officers.

After two rounds of unholds barred industrial action by the union, the BEC workers who took major action on Tuesday and Wednesday were ordered back to work after the union secured that meeting with the prime minister.

But in light of the industrial action that has gripped headlines after the workers blocked the entrance to the corporation’s Baillou Hill Road headquarters, threw rocks at cars and prevented customers from entering the building to pay their bills, Mr. Christie told union members that while industrial action is lawful, there is a right and a wrong way to do things.

“Whatever it is you are interested in there is the best way of being able to address it,” he said.

“What you need to do is to make a decision as to whether or not you are going to be able to control the process to the point where you are able to speak with me. You don’t want to speak to me with as gun to my head. It’s not fair to me.

“We’ve have to good a relationship for us not to be able to do this. You have to satisfy your members that I’m prepared to talk and listen to you and speak to whatever the issues are.”

The BEC workers have been protesting that new rostering shift system, the firing and suspension of two of their colleagues and calling for Chairman Leslie Miller’s termination.

Mr. Greene said, “The main concern for our members is that we had an audience with the prime minister and now we need to have a meeting with the prime minister,” he said. “He has committed to meeting with us as soon as possible he will clear his calendar so we are committing to meeting with him and addressing our issues.

“We will instruct our members that this is the process that needs to take place and to ask them to conduct themselves accordingly so that we can have this meeting. We asked them to report back to their stations and they will be updated further.”

He added that BEC customers should do away with all fears of sabotage and blackouts as the BEC workers have been ordered to carry out their duties and are all back on the job.

“Straight across the islands we had workers who went back to work today,” he said. “The group that came out (Thursday) was the group that came out that was committed to helping us get a meeting with the prime minister.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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