Categorized | National News

City Market Workers Reject Offer

Former Bahamas Supermarkets workers have rejected an offer from officials to accept $2 million in severance payments.

Wanslaw Turnquest, who represents hundreds of workers, said both sides were at an impasse last Friday.

“We have 356 that were employed at the closure of the company at March 30. Prior to that there were 116 workers who were dismissed based on the fact that the employees were put on reduced hours. Those 116 employees’ severance package totaled $1.2 million plus,” he told the Bahama Journal yesterday.

“But the 356 other employees totaled $4.9 million based on the labour laws of the country. Those employees who worked for 12 years got their 40 – hour work week package. We are trying to compromise with the Office of the Prime Minister and meet the terms of the prime minister, who is the negotiator. But apparently City Market officials are stuck on their figure and the latitude is basically unacceptable.”

The former City Market workers were in limbo for quite a while before the company went belly up.

And ever since then the workers have been fighting for funds owed to them.

Mr. Turnquest said that has not been an easy battle.

“The terms of the employees are not demands, but their legal rights. I cannot infringe on their legal rights. I cannot against labour laws under the laws of this country. We have to meet at some middle ground to meet their needs under the law,” he said.

“You have to bear in mind that these persons have been unemployed since last year. Their bills are piling up and they have needs and obligations to their families. This is not a political matter. This is a matter that the rights of the citizens of The Bahamas have been breached and all we are trying to do is to mitigate it and come to some form of compromise.”

Mr. Turnquest, who is a former auditor for City Markers, said at the moment the workers are pressing forward with a lawsuit for their pension fund.

But he would not say how much is actually due to the workers as the matter is still in court.

“They have to meet the basic requirement of law and we have to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The law is the law,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“It does not matter of who is management or who is not in management, the labour laws in this country is to protect the ordinary man in this country.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Perry Christie said he feels confident that the matter will be resolved soon.

“I have met with Mr. Mark Finlayson, I have met with representatives of the Finlayson family and I have reviewed the position as to where we are,” he said.

“I know that offers are being formulated and I indicated to them that we are much nearer to a resolution of the City Market position than we were before.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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