Categorized | National News

Union Gives BEC Ultimatum

President of The Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) Stephano Greene said he is giving the government 30 days to reverse a decision management at The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) made to put workers on a shift system.

Mr. Greene led his members on several ferocious demonstrations against the government in recent months protesting the government’s move to place workers on shifts in a bid to cut down on overtime costs.

However, Mr. Greene said the union’s contract is being violated as the document calls for proper compensation for rostered workers.

“Our contract speaks to what should happen with those employees for compensation,” he said.

“Mr. Miller is refusing to adhere to the contract and compensate those people who have been put on rosters.

“That is a direct violation of our contract and a direct violation of an agreement signed and stamped by the courts of this land so he is actually violating the laws of this land as it relates to contractual laws.”

Last Thursday, BEC Chairman Leslie Miller told reporters that the corporation saved $5.9 million by placing workers on that flexi-shift system.

Prior to that, BEC employees were able to rack up more than $12 million in overtime alone.

The BEWU president, however, thinks the whole process was a complete waste of time.

“It is a waste of man hours and a waste of time,” Mr. Greene said. “You have people rostered to come to work at 7:00 a.m. when no one comes to BEC to pay bills at 7:00 a.m. so why would you have cashiers in BEC yard when it’s still dark and nobody’s coming to pay bills?

“Silly things like that are happening. You have people who they roster who have certain works that only need to and should be done at certain hours. I can tell you there was not thought into what was done and it’s a lot of wasted man hours.”

The BEC chairman also announced that before the end of the year the corporation’s workers would be mandated to contribute to their pension and health funds.

But Mr. Greene said BEC workers are not the only government employees not contributing to these plans and added that the union has a problem with now being asked to pay up.

“Right now we do have a problem contributing to a pension plan seeing that we’re not the only ones who do not contribute,” he said. “When Mr. Miller goes in the press and makes these statements he tries to make the Bahamian public think BEC workers are trying to rob them and that’s far from the truth.

“The union is not opposed to sitting down and discussing but, officially, the position is that we aren’t willing to give up the benefits unless there is something mutually agreed to that will substitute for that benefit.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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