Categorized | National News

COB Union To Get Raises, Fitzgerald

Education, Science and Technology Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said Tuesday that the government expects to address the concerns of non-faculty staff at the College of The Bahamas who have threatened to strike if their industrial agreement is not honoured.

The nearly 400 staff signed an agreement back in 2008 with the government for pay increases and other benefits that the workers contend have been honoured.

The previous administration, who signed that agreement, at the time said it was unable to honour the agreement due to economic restraints resulting from a global recession.

The Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) which represents the workers said those workers have grown frustrated with stalled negotiations and have decided to act until an agreement is reached.

Mr. Fitzgerald said their concerns will be addressed in the coming days.

“It’s just a question of making financial arrangements in order to fulfill some commitments that were obviously in the agreement that weren’t put in the budget and so we’ll have to make a supplementary appropriations bill in order to get that done and so that’s why we are coming to Cabinet,” he said. “We are trying to get the numbers finalised and I think we have those totals now – and so if I don’t bring it up today, it will be brought up next week at Cabinet.”

Mr. Fitzgerald estimated that the amount owed to the workers is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He asked that the union be patient with the government as it tries to meet its financial obligations.

“The matter came to our attention few weeks ago and we tried to move and get what the total of the outstanding amount was,” he said. “The allocation wasn’t made in the budget and we are trying now to find the funds to do it. There is no secret that there are a lot of demands on the public treasury right now and we are trying to do the best we can to meet whatever obligations the government has committed to various unions and individuals around the country.”
The workers have been on work-to-rule since last week and are expected to take a strike vote today.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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