Categorized | National News

BCIAWU Becoming Impatient, Says Smith

The Bahamas Customs Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU) may hold another strike if the Christie administration continues to tarry on industrial agreement negotiations.

In April, Customs and Immigration workers in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Abaco and Bimini took industrial action over the unsigned agreement.
The strike caused major delays at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) and completely shut down operations at Prince George Wharf, Arawak Cay, the Department of Immigration and the main Customs and Immigration offices on Thompson Boulevard and Hawkins Hill.
The union’s Second Vice President Sloan Smith said when the matter was transferred to the Industrial Tribunal the panel referred the matter to Labour Minister Shane Gibson.

“It still sits there to be resolved and we are going to deal with that. On August 7, we should have met with the government to commence negotiations on our collective agreement. We discovered that the government was not ready to in fact negotiate and it was put off until Tuesday when they should have come with their counterproposal and again the government was not ready,” he said.

“We agreed to allow them to conclude their counterproposal by August 31. Having done that, we anticipate that we will commence negotiations on September 17. Now if the government doesn’t supply us with a counterproposal by September 31st then I can assure that our members will speak and speak very loudly.”

Some of the things that union wanted to negotiate with the government are a new shift system, an increase in salaries and promotions.

Mr. Smith said the union members are becoming impatient.

“Quite frankly, we the leaders are trying everything in our power to keep them calm and at least [give] the government an opportunity to make good on its promises, unsolicited though they were, but they promised to address our issues. They were on the campaign trail at the time and so we are simply saying to them, let’s do the reasonable thing – give them sufficient time to give us the counterproposal. Once that’s done, we hope to conclude swiftly our industrial agreement,” he said.

“We carry a big stick, but we are walking softly with that stick.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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