Categorized | National News

MPs Disconnect from Labour

As the Labour Week celebrations came to end, Trade Union Congress President Obie Ferguson said there is a disconnect between members of parliament and their perception of the labour movement.

Ferguson made this comment during the recent broadcast of JCN’s television show The Roundtable, where he discussed issues concerning the labour movement in the country.

According to Ferguson, at one point in Bahamian history there was a relationship between the working class and parliament.

Today, he said, “there is a complete disconnect between the members of parliament and the way they perceive the labour movement.”

Ferguson explained that he thinks this disconnect was caused after many parliamentarians became lawyers, accountants, managers and professionals in their chosen career.

“They felt as though they have arrived and they really don’t know anything about labour,” Ferguson added.

He further explained that it was labour that caused some parliamentarians to obtain a scholarship which enabled them to attend universities.

The TUC president pointed out that he was given a scholarship from a former Minister of Education, Livingston Coakley, and this kind gesture went a long way in life because he knows what it is to be a trade union leader and how to deal with the “little man.”

But now, according to Ferguson, the trade unions are comprised with people who think if they go on strike they will get an injunction.

“There is an injunction at BCPOU. They can’t do anything. There is an injunction at the hotel workers union. They can’t do anything. There was an injunction at Sandals, but I got that injunction lifted,” he said.

However, Ferguson stressed that the country cannot develop unless workers are trained to be a part of the labour movement and it’s not happening.

He noted that the mood of workers in the country is “very bleak.”

Using Scotiabank as an example, Ferguson explained that the bank has been in the country for a long time, but after 23 years of service the bank would dismiss service employees without any “real consideration.”

He noted that the employees’ compensation package is not adequate and with little money they are given, the employees are left to fight for additional funds.

Also sometimes employees do not know what they are entitled to after working at a company for a particular amount of years and the country doesn’t have an organization or process in place to explain to the employee their entitlements, Ferguson added.

While weighing in on the “bleak” mood of workers in The Bahamas, Vice President of the Bahamas Customs, Immigration and Allied Workers Union Sloane Smith discussed the poor work ethic of some Bahamian workers.

Smith said poor work ethic begins at home where children are not instructed to carry out their duties around the house, which is then filtered into the schools.

“So they graduate out of school and that same thing what was probably missing out at home is what you now find in the work environment,” Smith said.

But there are some other factors that must be considered to determine the cause of poor work ethic.

Smith pointed out that there are some employers who hire persons because of political will and those persons feel as though they don’t have to perform on the job.

“I know of persons even now who may have come on because of politics and as a consequence they don’t work because they know we will be taken care of,” Smith said. “So there are a lot of variables and there are a lot of people to blame for it.”

He expressed that workers must equip themselves with integrity to do the work that they are being paid for and employers should also do what it necessary to ensure staff productivity on the job.

“Unions preach this on an ongoing basis,” Smith said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook