Categorized | National News

Labour Ministry Expects The Point To Honour Agreement

The Director of Labour  John Pinder said that following the completion and opening of Seven Entertainment at The Point Development, the  Ministry is expecting workers to now comply with the Heads of Agreement. 

The  Agreement signed last year between the government and China Construction America stated that the ratio of Bahamian workers to foreign workers be  70-30. 

He said,” we expect to now see them close that gap as relates to the ratio of Bahamians to foreign workers.”

To  ensure  the agreement is met, Mr. Pinder said that there is a section of the Department of Labour that deals with investigations to ensure that all employees have good working environments and  that the  staff  is safe.

In this case, the section will also be tasked  with  ensuring  that the terms set down in the Heads of agreement  are  met.

“In this case,  there is a Heads of agreement that the Point has agreed to, we have to now do as best as we can to ensure that they live up to that agreement. 

“In  the absence of  that,  we can make our report to  the  Minister who will make his  report to  I guess to the Prime Minister or Parliament and cause them to be some sort of assurance that these people live up to what’s in the agreement, because the government has given concessions. 

“So the  one  tool  that the government has that they can negotiate with to ensure that large investors who sign these heads of agreement comply is the fact that they offer concessions. 

“Those   concessions  should  be able to cause them to live up to the heads of agreement, failing that the government should be able to renege on those promises made as they  relate to whatever benefits they should receive from the Heads of agreement being signed,” he said.    

Commenting on labour relations in The Bahamas, Mr. Pinder said that it will be tough right now,  as Bahamians are currently feeling economic hardship.

He  added that as a result, workers expect for their unions to address their concerns. Ever since the VAT increase,  a number of unions hoped that an amendment to the Industrial  Relations Act   would help in satisfying their members. 

However, this did not happen as a number of these industrial agreements have not yet  expired.

“I know the BBS industrial agreement has expired and so they should be going to the table very soon for a new industrial agreement. 

“I believe it’s safe for Bahamians to understand that these are hard economic times, not just in The Bahamas, but globally.” 

“I believe its important for union leaders to advise their members that  really we are being replaced by technology,  so we have to steer our members more toward  technology more than anything else and we have to advise them that no longer can they work doing one job description.  They have to be able to multi-task to keep themselves employed,” he said.

Mr. Pinder added that he hopes union members would look at those views and accept that fact that the country is in a global crisis and can no longer compete locally or regionally.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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