Categorized | National News

Customs Workers Owed Millions

Sloane Smith 45

Over 1,200 Customs and Immigration workers are allegedly owed almost $3.8 million by the government, according to Bahamas Customs Immigration and Allied Workers Union President Sloane Smith.

 Mr. Smith says he believes the government is intentionally slacking on reaching an agreement with the union based on how they have been operating over the past few years over issues related to salaries, benefits and allowances.

 “It’s almost as if they don’t want to bring closure to this. Now, I know they have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Well, our position as a union is we are not coming to the table just to hear that you have changed the position,” he said.

 “The things we have agreed on, let’s sign the document and have it executed so these persons in Customs and Immigration can in fact get the benefits of what we have been fighting for that past four or five years. I think if we do this it brings to a closure all those issues that have stemmed from trying to conclude an agreement.”

 The union president said the least the government can do in the meantime is offer the workers that of which he said they had due to them a long time ago.

 The union president further charged about a month ago, an agreement was allegedly reached in principle, however when the union and the government returned to the table, Mr. Smith says the five to seven pages which were agreed upon were somehow turned into a 40-page document filled with information not of any concern to the union.

 “What they sought to do is take chunks of information out of general orders, industrial act, employment act, health and safety and place it in this document,” Mr. Smith said.

 “We are not concerned about that because we are already governed by those things. It amounts to wasting of time. All we are simply saying to them is what we have agreed to let’s simply sign off on that and make that monies available to the workers. Make those benefits available to the workers.”

 Mr. Smith says he refuses to believe that Prime Minister Perry Christie has knowledge of what has been happening and let it continue.

 The union is calling on Mr. Christie to instruct the government’s lead negotiator, Keith Archer to sign off on the agreement, giving the workers what they deserve.

 The union was formed in 2010 under the Free National Movement (FNM) government.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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