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COB Non-Faculty Industrial Action Expected To Cease

The 400 non-faculty workers at The College of The Bahamas in the near future are expected to cease the industrial action imposed on the college as a result of not receiving payments from an industrial agreement.
The workers have been awaiting pay increases and bonuses from an industrial agreement since 2009 and have been on work to rule as of late November 2012.
President of the Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU), John Pinder, said that while he doesn’t encourage the workers to celebrate just yet, there has been word that they will receive the funding promised to them in the industrial agreement.
“I received a text from the consultant who deals with the negotiations as well as from Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald and that text indicated that COB has been given permission to make payments equivalent to that of what the general public service receives. That’s really a lump sum payment equivalent to two increments which would then be added to the base salary.”
“While that is a great thing and lets us know that there is progress, I’m now waiting for that to be communicated to me in an official written correspondent so that we can communicate that to our membership,” he said.
At the beginning of January, Mr. Pinder informed the public that all his attempts to hear from Minister Fitzgerald had failed and the union on behalf of the workers would be applying for a strike vote.
However, with the recent revelation into the matter, Mr. Pinder said once the workers agree with the proposed deal then there would be no need for a strike, neither would there be a need to carry out any further industrial action against the college.
“I don’t see us striking. We’re going to have to consider the financial position and once we are satisfied with it, we’re going to stick with it for now,” he said.
The BPSU president noted that the amount wasn’t what the workers had wished for, but that they would settle for it.
“We can always work something out when the economy turns around or the college is in a better financial position and they can probably make it up at some point,” Mr. Pinder said.
The union president added that he’s aware of the financial situation which the college is in and wishes to cooperate with them.
“The unfortunate thing is that, because COB has autonomy they normally run their own affairs. But they’re always in the financial position to do better than that of the general public service because they’re a smaller group also. In this case because the college is not in the financial position, the government has to make these funds available and so the government does not wish to give any grouping more than they can afford to give the general public service,” he said.
“The workers wished they would have been able to receive at least equivalent to the last contract and because it took so long, I know they wished it would have been more than $2,000, but hopefully it would satisfy them for now,” he added.
Mr. Pinder stressed that as the college wishes to reach university status by July 2015, the institution would need the cooperation of the non-faculty workers and that it would be in the college’s best interest to keep them happy.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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