Categorized | National News

Union And BTC Executives To Meet Thursday-Unionists make another push to get BCPMU VP reinstated

Union executives pressuring management at The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to reinstate Elizabeth Thompson will meet with the company later this week, confirmed Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Obie Ferguson Monday.

Ms. Thompson, who serves as vice president of The Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union (BCPMU), was fired from BTC on October 22.

BTC has claimed that it made the decision after it became increasingly clear that Ms. Thompson had adopted an adversarial position to the company’s interests; however, in its letter of termination, the company advised her that she was being dismissed without cause.

Labour leaders who have maintained that Ms. Thompson was fired because of her involvement with the union have charged that BTC has breached the law and its industrial agreement with the BCPMU.

Mr. Ferguson said that Ms. Thompson has the full backing of the labour union and he called on BTC to reinstate her immediately.

“Terminating her without cause is unfounded there is no basis for it and as a consequence we say, that her collective agreement which she is governed by – the collective agreement in which she participated in – that agreement is in effect and for all intents and purposes, we have deemed that she is continuously employed,” Mr. Ferguson said during a press conference at The Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) Headquarters.

“We are going to work as a bloc and we want to let the management at BTC know that they are not dealing with her [Elizabeth Thompson] or the BCPMU, but the labour movement and we will do what it takes to see that she is reinstated.”
Since her termination, Ms. Thompson has received support from a coalition of union leaders.

Just last week, several of those leaders, along with members from a cross sector of unions stormed the executive offices of BTC demanding a meeting with company CEO Geoff Houston.

Their efforts though haven’t led BTC to change its position; however, Mr. Ferguson said the company is fighting a losing battle.

“The agreement that governs Ms. Thompson is indefeasibly binding on her, the BCPMU and BTC,” he said. “Neither party can change that agreement unless all three of them decide to change it collectively. That agreement is in place for three years and any variation of that is a fundamental breach and therefore, that is the basis of which we shall be pursuing the matter.”
Labour Minister Shane Gibson told the Bahama Journal that he has asked for an investigation in to the matter and he agreed that BTC may have violated its industrial agreement with the BCPMU by unilaterally revising an existing agreement.

Union officials expect to meet with BTC executives on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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