Categorized | National News

Morton Issues Headed To Privy Council

Industrial issues plaguing Morton Salt workers will be heard before the Privy Council,  Trade Union Congress President  Obie Ferguson revealed  recently. 

The issue at hand, Mr. Ferguson said is  the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU) Industrial Agreement, along with what the  company has brought to the table in terms of pay increase to its workers.

“I have filed an application to the Court of Appeal, seeking leave. The Court of Appeal has given me until the 20 June  to give them a reason why they ought to exercise a discretion to allow me to go to the Privy Council.

“If  I’m not successful in getting leave from the Court of Appeal, I will go direct to the Privy Council, provision  [is] in place for it,” Mr. Ferguson said. 

Mr. Ferguson said the offer of pay increase is questionable, adding that the move to the Privy Council follows BIMAWU requesting the government to intervene. 

Negotiations between Morton Salt owners and the union stalled as the owners offered the workers 1.5 percent increase in pay for the first year, 1.5 percent for the second year and 1.7 percent for the third year. 

“Morton Salt, we’ve asked the government, the minister, to intervene in that matter. 

“I was doing some research on evolution, and Morton Salt workers were the first group of workers in this country to have a union. And today, the operators are benefiting tremendously. 

“They pump the water from the ocean, and to date, and I stand to be corrected, I don’t think they are paying the government a dollar. And I’m asking the Bahamian people is 1.5 percent reasonable? That’s uneven inflation.

“So this is slavery all over again, in another form. I have to now go to the Privy Council, to represent those people,” Mr. Ferguson said. 

And despite having a strike certificate in hand since last year, the union has held off striking several times. 

Mr. Ferguson said that the workers have not used the certificate as the agreement presents a difficulty. 

“The entire agreement bears a difficulty. Not only for the workers of Morton Salt but it has an impact on workers in general  where there is a collective agreement. 

“That we have presently in front of the court, seeking leave, because we differ with the ruling of the court. The court suggested, in our view, that a  collective agreement is an employment contract; we differ. 

“And because of that, it has far reaching effects, not only on Morton Salt [but] on every union registered in The Bahamas. 

Following ongoing negotiations, Morton salt company says its offer to its workers is a fair deal. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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