Categorized | National News

Hanna-Martin Calls Union Claims Scurrilous

Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin yesterday called claims from The Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers’ Union (BATCU) which has alleged that the health and safety of its members are being compromised because of unsanitary working conditions and that two of its members are being victimised false and scurrilous.

On Tuesday, the BATCU announced that it had filed a labour dispute with the Department of Labour and it stated its intentions to lobby its members to take a strike poll after it claimed that working conditions at its main facility are posing significant risks to the health and safety of its members.

Further, the union claimed that two its members who sought to rectify the situation are being threatened and victimised.
In the House of Assembly Wednesday, Mrs. Hanna-Martin dismissed these claims and accused the union of misleading the public.
“As minister responsible for aviation, we are ready and willing to respond to the issues as we see they exist,” she said. “And I reject as false, scurrilous and scandalous any allegation that any officer in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation is being victimised,” the minister said.

The union has claimed that there have been chronic water outages at the Nassau Terminal Radar Control and Tower which have led to employees at times having to transport water several floors high in order to wash their hands and flush the toilets.
Mrs. Hanna-Martin acknowledged that there have been water issues but said these problems are due to water supply issues as a result of works conducted by the Water and Sewerage Corporation.

Further, she maintained that any issues regarding unsanitary working conditions brought to her attention will be addressed immediately.

“The tower has an operational elevator,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said. “There was an incident a few months ago involving cessation of water supply. We later learned that it was occasioned by works being conducted by Water and Sewerage Corporation. I am told that in the last two weeks additionally there have been issues with water supply intermittently. I am advised that technical officers went out and conducted an inspection which disclosed that there was no defect and that very likely it was an issue related to water supply.”

The BATCU which is supported by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has threatened to take industrial actions if its concerns are not immediately addressed, however, the minister said she remains committed with working to ensure there is a resolution to the matter.

“I am advised that there has been a convention with this union and the minister of labour that where there are issues there would be communication and consequent resolution,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said. “If within this context of an employer who is not only listening but ready to respond and work with you and resolve these issues – if within that context, the threat of strike is executed I am inviting the Bahamian people to give it careful analysis, particularly, in light of the recent assertions of the Trade Union Congress of efforts they wish to take.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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