Categorized | Featured, National News

Unions Heads Threaten Strike


fullsizerenderAfter last week’s controversial nolle prosequi signed by Attorney General Allyson-Maynard Gibson, union heads have said that a possible national strike could be on the horizon.

Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Obie Ferguson and Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) Head John Pinder appeared as guests on the talk show “Jones and Company” where they responded to a question surrounding the union’s next move.

“A national strike is definitely possible to put some pressure on the government,” Mr. Pinder said.

“We don’t wish to see this happen again.”

The document resulted in the charges against Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort General Manager Gary Williams and another executive Fritzroy Walker being dropped.

The two were charged with failure or refusal to enter in negotiations, contrary to section 45 of the Industrial Relations Act.

They were also accused of the intimidation of an employee and termination of an employee both contrary to section 45 of the Industrial Relations Act.

These charges were brought by the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union, representing the employees of Sandals.

Ferguson added that he feels the Attorney General was disingenuous with her actions, citing being misled by information received from her in meetings last month.

“We met with the Attorney General prior to the August 15th.She gave us permission to commence the action on the premise of the primary prosecution and said there was nothing prohibiting us from doing so. It was disingenuous; she made us believe that she was trying to resolve the matter,” he said.

“Even the minister of labour felt it was disingenuous for the AG to blindside the prime minister in the discussions,” Mr. Ferguson said.

Mr. Ferguson also refuted the press statement issued by Mrs. Maynard- Gibson last week that she explained why the nolle was signed.

The TUC President said that it was factually incorrect.

The union heads also made it clear that they are not questioning the attorney general’s power as she was in her legal right to do so.

Mr. Pinder weighed in by saying that the ruling has wider implications outside of the Sandals case and sets a precedent for future cases to follow.

“If it happened with this union, it could happen with any other union the precedent has already been set. This will drastically impact other unions that are trying to get an industrial agreement in place,” he said.

“Even if I fought you through the courts, the court will look at the ruling handed down on September 19th, 2016. I have received calls from colleagues around the region who expressed their outrage at the ruling.”

Mr. Pinder also stated that on the labour front, persons feel that they no longer have any rights, and a general fear is developing around the notion that if one employer could get away with this it could manifest itself throughout The Bahamas.

The attorney general last week in press statement clarified the circumstances surrounding the ordeal and stated that the Nolle Prosequi became effective when it was entered in the Magistrates Court by the Office of the Attorney General on 19th September 2016.

She stated that primary purpose for the nolle was due to the ongoing civil proceedings in the Supreme Court between Sandals and The Bahamas Hotel and Allied Workers Union in relation to Sandals recognition of the union and whether Sandals should be obliged to negotiate with them.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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