Categorized | National News

BLACKOUT- BEC Union Threatens Action

Bahamas Electrical Corporation (BEC) managerial and line staff union leaders have given the company an ultimatum – provide answers and speedy action to a few union demands or face widespread power outages.

Bahamas Electrical Utility Managerial Union (BEUMU) has demanded BEC rescind its decision to suspend BEUMU President Ervin Dean.

The union threatened that if Mr. Dean was not allowed to return to work by 4:30 p.m. yesterday, mass industrial action would commence.

“We have already put membership of the managerial union on notice, and we’ve already gotten overwhelming response from our junior union that if we don’t get action immediately it’s going to be hot up in here. We aren’t playing and we are not scared,” BEUMU Vice President Clinton Minnis said.

According to BEUMU Vice President Clinton Minnis, Mr. Dean was wrongfully suspended Tuesday after pleading, for weeks on end, on behalf of another employee – Adrian Cargill.

Mr. Minnis said Mr. Cargill was wrongfully fired from BEC and Mr. Dean, in his capacity as union president, sent countless messages to BEC executives concerning the termination.

“Our president has been under attack from BEC for five years and the union has been patient and kind as we have tried to promote industrial goodwill. When you take the position to suspend the president of the union without even informing us officially that actions would be taken against the president, we have a problem with that,” he said.

“Mr. Dean was not suspended because of his presidential duties, which he was carrying out legally under the laws of The Bahamas. He was suspended as manager of credit and collections, so in other words the management of BEC has misprocessed or they do not understand process.”

Secretary General of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) Stefano Greene agreed that the corporation could have handled the situation a lot differently.

“If the corporation had an issue with what he said and how he sent it there was an avenue in which they could have addressed it and they did not do that. They went ahead and suspended him wrongfully. We are calling on the government and BEC executives that Mr. Dean needs to be returned to the job immediately, the suspension letter needs to be rescinded and he needs to be issued an apology,” he said.

Both union leaders called on the government – one which claims to be labour friendly – to live up to its promises to address and resolve labour woes head-on.

“We are appealing to this new government who has the interest of labour at hand to begin effective immediately to show that this is the first test that this administration has to respond to immediately,” Mr. Minnis said.

Up to press time union leaders did not confirm if Mr. Dean’s suspension was quashed prior to the 4:30 p.m. deadline.

Late Tuesday BEC’s executive management team responded.

The corporation’s executives said they do not involve themselves in issues that are to be handled by the human resources department of the corporation.

“As with any employee related matter, BEC encourages the BEUMU to employ all legitimate and legal recourse afforded to them through the industrial agreement and the laws of The Bahamas,” a statement to the Journal said.

“Although there are instances when the corporation and the union may disagree on certain matters, at all times BEC encourages the union to ensure that any action they may be considering is not to the detriment of BEC’s customers and by extension the entire country.”

It is now a sit and wait process to see if the BEUMU and the BEWU will follow through on its threats.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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