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MOW Workers Storm Bay Street

Hundreds of Ministry of Works employees, armed with signs and passionate pleas for better working conditions and increased salaries, stormed Rawson Square to protest what they feel is unfair treatment on the job.

A number of Cabinet ministers were bombarded on their way into their weekly meeting as the rowdy crowd of workers from the Road and Parks Division demanded answers, change and pay raises.

Among them was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Phillip Brave Davis who said the fact that the workers were protesting baffled him as the two sides have been in talks on the issue for some time now.

“Why they’re here really doesn’t help the situation because I thought there have been some constructive discussions ongoing within the ministry to try to resolve all the issues,” Mr. Davis said.

Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) President John Pinder joined the workers in their demonstration and charged that the deputy prime minister’s claims are far from the truth.

According to Mr. Pinder, if discussions were held, he was not made aware of them taking place, and said the protest was the result of poor communication from the government.

“These people spoke with the permanent secretary; he can’t give them any information, I don’t have any information because I wasn’t invited to any of the discussions, so the union doesn’t know what’s going on, and apparently the administrators at the Ministry of Works doesn’t know what’s going on,” Mr. Pinder explained. “This is what happens when the government does not give proper consultation with the union who represents the people so I could at least tell them what’s going on.”

Some of the workers complained about health hazards on the job and others mentioned working for over two decades and have not been classified or permanently hired.

One of the workers, Anthony Pratt, fed up with the “unfortunate” state the workers were in, felt the need to address the prime minister directly.

“We have to let the prime minister know that enough is enough,” he said. “We’ve been going through it for too long; our situation that we’ve been working with is so low, so now we have to take a stand. This is 2014 heading into 2015, and if you don’t do it now sir we’ll do it until we get it right.” Pratt said.

For Leon Green, workers like himself overworked and underpaid and added that they have been long promised money they never received.

“We are exposed to all kinds of terrible things, we’re working on the side of the road, and we’re doing a lot of work,” he said. “Please, prime minister, we need the money, give it to us now, please.”

Prime Minister Perry Christie took the time to address the crowd on his way into the Cabinet building and based on what he has heard, the matter is an easy fix.

“It appears to me to be a matter that the government can easily resolve,” Prime Minister Christie added. “Ordinarily, I would’ve anticipated that this matter would have been brought to the attention of the government, and the government would have addressed the matter, but this is the way they have done it, and this is what we have to deal with.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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