Categorized | National News

COB Workers to Be Paid this Month

The over 300 non-faculty workers at The College of The Bahamas (COB) could expect their long awaited pay increases and bonuses from the government this month.

The employees, who have been on work to rule since November, have been given the runaround for several months now, but according to Bahamas Public Service Union President John Pinder, this battle should come to an end within the month.

“I had the opportunity to speak with both the Minister of Labour Shane Gibson and the Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald and they have assured us that they would do whatever is necessary to ensure that these persons are paid in a timely matter. So it is expected that they’d be paid in the next pay package in March,” he said.

“After they receive that payment then we will continue negotiations to conclude the other items that are left to work out.”

Back in December, the union leader had threatened that something had not been done before the year 2012 was out then the members would be forced to apply for the strike vote.

However, Mr. Pinder now says he hopes the union members would be understanding of the financial hardships the government is now facing and accept whatever it is that they are willing to give at the moment.

“We had a meeting on Friday to communicate to them what has been offered and recognising the hard economic times I said to them that we’d have to take this now and hopefully things turnaround so that we could get some more later,” he said.

As for the amount to be paid, the president says that the government is not making any special payments to the non-faculty employees as they are getting the same other government employees.

“The government has made the decision that they’re going to pay all public officers and civil servants the very same thing which is a lump sum payment of two increments added to the salary scale,” he said.

According to Mr. Pinder, there are a number of outstanding matters that need to be concluded and resolved and he said he’s hoping that during the negotiations those concerns will be addressed.

“The gist of our negotiations is that we believe it is unfair for one group of workers to be treated more favorable than the other group except for areas where salaries may play a role in that some areas of COB demand higher qualifications. But there’s no reason why non-faculty staff life insurance policy is $20,000 less than those who are faculty staff,” he said.

“I want to ensure that these non-faculty workers get the same types of benefits in terms of their kids going there and getting the same discount or the same treatment as the faculty staff.”

Those issues may take a bit longer than the pay increases to resolve according to the president, however, he says he still hopes to have them concluded in a timely manner.

“I have no problem with sitting to the table with the negotiating team of the college and thrashing it out with them for three to four days if that’s what it takes to get this thing resolved as quickly as possible.”

Mr. Pinder thanks the membership of the union for their patience and understanding the situation surrounding the country’s economy.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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