Categorized | National News

Customs, Immigration Workers Want Holiday Pay -Requesting Meeting with the PM

Officials of the Bahamas Customs, Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU) are requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Perry Christie as they claimed that talks between them and the government for increases for their 1,100 members have stalled.

BCIAWU Vice President Sloane Smith said the union members have come to the conclusion that the only person in the country who can bring their matter to a close is the prime minister.

“If you’d remember we had a strike and the issues that produced that strike still exist, but there’s a fundamental difference between administrations; one has decided to sit and talk,” he said. “So we sat and we spoke with them.

“We have gotten to a point where there is now an impasse. We are about 80 per cent of the way in crafting our own industrial agreement. The only issue is we have gotten to the point where there are financial issues that can only be solved by one person and that is the honourable prime minister”

Mr. Smith said in talking to other government officials they have only been able to get so far with their issues and requests.

He added that the extent of their issue rests with the nation’s chief and no one else as the prime minister is also the minister of finance and has the final say.

“There’s no other person in the country that can solve the issues that we have brought forth,” Mr. Smith added. “We have proven that. It stops with the honourable prime minister. We wanted some outstanding monies that were not given to customs and immigration but was given to others in the public service.

“We wanted the government to show in good faith that whatever conclusion we came to we wanted the government to give a fraction of that as we go into the Christmas season, giving the fact that nothing came to us within the last two years.”

The BCIAWU said it’s customary for public service workers to request increases or bonuses during this time of the year, adding that what they are asking for is not unreasonable.

The BCIAWU made the request for these increases nearly one month ago.

He said the union is not threatening any action adding that so far the government has lived up to many of its promise as they have see the promotion of some clerical staff.

Mr. Smith said he has witnessed the government cut cheques for immigration repatriations and other government emergencies with only days’ notice.

With this in mind he said he is confident that the government could meet their demands just as quickly.

Ianthia Smith

Written by Ianthia Smith

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