Categorized | National News

Gov’t Clarifies BPSU Negotiation

Following a number of misleading voice notes, the Ministry of Finance clarified information concerning negotiations with the Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU).

According to the Ministry of Finance in a statement released yesterday, the voice notes that were circulated purports to reflect a meeting held at the Ministry of Finance last Thursday

The meeting was held between the Ministry of Finance, the Public Treasury Department, the Ministry of Public Service (MPS) and the BPSU.

The statement confirmed that a meeting was convened at the Ministry of Finance following an earlier meeting between the prime minister and the BPSU, during which the matter was referred to the ministry. 

“The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the government’s ability to finance a payment to public officers for back to school preparations. The government sought to negotiate a good faith resolution which would be presented to Cabinet for approval. The union proposed a lump sum payment of $1,200 for the benefit of public officers. The total value of payments was estimated by the government at approximately $20 million,” the statement read.

“The BPSU was advised that any proposal emerging from the meeting would be subject to the final approval of the Cabinet and availability of financial resources to accomplish it in the timeframe being sought. The Ministry of Finance could not authorize or make payment without exploring the options and challenges such a payment would present and before receiving Cabinet approval.

“Considering the government’s cash flow needs, the Ministry of Finance offered to recommend to Cabinet, splitting the payment into two lump sums of $600 each, in August and December, 2019. The union refused to consider the offer, indicating $1,200 was already a concession. The BPSU was advised that due to the scale of the funding requirements, meeting an end of month demand would be a challenge in all instances.”

According to the Ministry of Finance, while it is true that the BPSU was not encouraged by the recommended action, it was made clear at the end of the meeting that the minister would present the results of the meeting and the positions taken by both negotiating sides at the earliest meeting of Cabinet for a decision on August 20.

“The government stands by its commitment to work with BPSU towards a satisfactory long term agreement,” the statement read.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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