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Morton Salt Workers To Stage Strike Vote

The Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIM&AWU) is planning to stage a strike vote, according to the Union’s President, Jennifer Brown.

Ten months ago, executives of BIM and AWU  met with Morton Salt Limited to negotiate a new industrial agreement.

That agreement expired February of this year.

Since then, the parties have exchanged proposals; but the union is not satisfied.

“On August 30th, Morton Salt, gave a final wage package which includes 1.5 per cent in the first year, 1.5 in 2019, and 1.7 in 2020,” Brown said.

“These final figures are less than the cost of living, particularly when you take into consideration the increase in electricity, the proposed increase $2 deduction from wages, NHI and 12 per cent VAT, plus the exorbitant price increase in medical and life insurance,” she added.

“We came to the conclusion that the final offer that has been offered yesterday is designed to create major industrial action at Morton Salt plant in Inagua.

“It is a deficit agreement, unheard of in this part of the world, and it is an insult to our workers and the union cannot allow this to stand,” she said.

Now, once the Union’s voted for a strike and have secured a strike certificate, Ms. Brown said they will meet and determine when they will reduce their level of enthusiasm or withdraw labour.

To avoid all this, the Union is  calling on the government to intervene.

“The last strike we took was a two-week strike, so whatever we do now, we’re going to make sure that it’s more effective than before,” she said.

“We cannot say at this time exactly what we’re going to do, but it will be more effective.

“And it will not be go back to work as usual and we expect for these things to be resolved, they have to be resolved before we continue, that is the position that we’re going to take,” Brown said.

A disappointed President of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress (TUC), Obie Ferguson said this is an insult to Morton workers.

“We call on the workers of Morton Salt, every single worker ought to be out there on Tuesday morning at 8am to cast their vote, to make it legal,” Ferguson said.

“Because once that is done, the employer cannot fire you, you are now protected by law,” he added.

“The constitution of The Bahamas gives you that right, the Industrial Relations Act gives you that right, so don’t listen to garbage,  come out and stand for yourself.”

Morton has a workforce of 124 employees, of that figure, 91 are members of the union.

Voting is slated for Tuesday November 20th at the hall opposite the Methodist church in Matthew Town, Inagua.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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