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The Water and Sewerage Board of Directors says that the Managerial Union unlawfully conducted a strike poll. The Board  has  responded to complaints of the corporation’s union members in a statement last Thursday. 

The unofficial results from the unions’ strike poll this past Wednesday revealed  a 155-48 in favor of strike action in the case of the line staff and 23 yes and 14 no from the managerial union. 

After receiving the results both union presidents expressed that it is their hope that the corporation would come to the table in an effort to resolve the matter. 

The statement also indicated that saying that the corporation did not receive any formal confirmation of the strike poll’s approval. 

It said, “late on Tuesday evening, a notification came from the Department of Labour to indicate that approval had been given. Notably, last Thursday morning , reports are that a combined 135 non-managers cast a ballot and a

combined 37 managers voted.”

It added, “WSC has a total staff complement of 407 persons. Of the 407, 312 are non-managers and 73 are managers. There are also 4 contract workers and 4 members of EXCOM, with two additional members coming onboard in the next 2 to 4 weeks. Given the same, 32% of the managers voted in favor, 19% against and 49% abstained.”

The statement further explained that The Industrial Relations Act states that a representational count must be taken in such actions and no less than sixty per centum of employees (two-thirds) in the bargaining unit must vote in favor.

“Moreover, the Constitution of the Water and Sewerage Management Union states: ‘Any decision as to whether or not to call a strike shall be made at a Special General Meeting called by the Executive Committee or by the Union in accordance with Article 7 of this Constitution and shall be decided by a two-thirds majority vote by secret ballot, as set out in Section 20 of Clause 1 (c) of the Industrial Relations Act…’

Given the same, the statement added that the WSMU did not meet the lawful threshold for the issuance of a strike certificate. 

At issue are a number of grievances with the corporation’s management. 

 In the case of the managers’ union, there is an outstanding industrial agreement which President Ednel Rolle claims WSC Executive Chairman, Adrian Gibson simply refuses to sign. 

To this, the statement said, “Notably, Mr. Rolle’s term as leader of the Management Union ended in March, 2019. Notwithstanding that, Mr. Rolle has refused to call an election. One of the union’s trustees have written to the Department of Labour, urging them to intervene and force an election.”

The Board also pointed out that The Chairman/Board and WSC Executive Team has attempted to meet with Rolle on two to three occasions over the last two months. 

However, it said that Mr. Rolle has proffered an excuse on each occasion.

It added, “Mr. Rolle asserts that his union had obtained a Supreme Court ruling that supports his position. The Corporation is of the view that the ruling does not. Moreover, prior to the July 2017 appointment of this Board, Mr. Rolle took WSC to court for damages. That case is ongoing.”

Given his assertions of a judgment in his favor, the board said that President Rolle would be able to approach the court and file an action for enforcement of judgement, which has not been done.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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