Categorized | National News

Central Bank Workers Disgruntled

Disgruntled workers at the Central Bank of The Bahamas are getting set to vote on whether to take strike action over a pay increase offer.

The Union of Central Bankers has been locked in negotiations with the Central Bank for some time now over a pay rise for its 150 members.

The union’s industrial agreement expired on January 15. It is now looking to sign a new four-year agreement.

According to a well-placed source, the union has requested an increase of up to six per cent in the first year of the contract, $2,500 in the second year, four per cent in the third year and $2,500 in the fourth year of the industrial agreement.

However, The Bahama Journal understands that the Central Bank is only prepared to offer four per cent in the first year, $2,500 in the second year, 3.75 per cent in the third and $2,500 in the fourth.

The payments would be retroactive to January 15.

The Bahama Journal understands that Central Bank Governor Wendy Craigg is not budging.

“She says the state of the economy prevents them from giving us what we want and that is as much as the bank can offer. But, we are of the opinion that the bank can do a bit more. We were prepared to accept even the slightest move in the first year beyond the four per cent,” the source said.

“In fact, the union was prepared to concede on Sunday to accept 4.5 per cent in that first year, the $2,500 in the second, four per cent in the third and $2,500 in the fourth, but the governor has refused to move on that position. That’s where we were at.”

But, workers reportedly are not buying the governor’s excuse.

“There have been articles placed in the newspaper where the governor herself indicated what the bank’s profit levels are and the bank is a non-profit organisation. So, you decide,” the source said.

The source said Deputy Governor Michael Lightbourne does not seem to be in a position to assist the workers.
“He doesn’t have any teeth, but I believe that if he had his way he would give us what we want. But, they are creatures of instruction. They can only come forth and say what has already been indicated. We’ve already taken this position to the government,” the source said.

Increased tensions mean that the workers could soon walk off the job.

“We have already declared an impasse; once we’ve done that one of the tools available to us is that we can declare a strike vote. But, it’s all depending on what the membership decides.”

The Journal understands that some of the workers have not had raises in quite some time.

The entire process is now having an effect on the workers, insiders say.

“They are very anxious to conclude, but in the midst of them being anxious they would like to settle at something that is fair and reasonable,” the source said.

“Right now persons can make foolish decisions. You have to allow the membership to make the final decision; if you decide unanimously that you are prepared to accept what the bank is offering the union executives will have no other choice but to sign off. If they decide they don’t want the offer they have to do some other things to get what they want.”

The insider continued, “Staff will vote and make a determination. If they accept the agreement we will go ahead and accept it; if they reject it, then there are some measures that we will have to take.”

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