Categorized | National News

WSC Contract Workers Made Permanent

More than 90 contract Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) workers can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

After more than a year, they have finally been made permanent.

WSC executives and the Bahamas Utilities and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) yesterday signed an agreement, putting an end to the uncertainty.

The corporation also secured the union’s agreement that the newly engaged members of the bargaining unit will not be a part of the existing defined benefit pension plan, which has an unfunded liability of over $70 million.

Instead, a contributory pension plan will be established over the next year and these and other employees in the bargaining unit after January 1, 2013, will be eligible for the new plan.

The plan will also be portable so that participating employees will be able to take their benefits with them in the event they separate form the corporation in the future, subject to the conditions of the plan.

“In early March of this year, industrial action ensued at the corporation as a result of an impasse between management and BUSAWU regarding the status of contract employees. Some of these employees had been employed for up to seven years under consecutive contracts. This failure to reach an agreement resulted in a court action being filed by the corporation in order to resolve the matter. However, the government has been able to reach a resolution to the benefit of all parties and to avoid a protracted court case and associated costs,” WSC Chairman, Bradley Roberts explained.

“The resolution of this matter now means that our brothers and sisters now have a more stable employment status, complete with the benefits enjoyed by members of the bargaining unit, who do the same work that contract employees have been competently carrying out over the years.”

According to Mr. Roberts, the agreement also ensures that this situation does not occur in the future by limiting a contract employment period to one year.

“If a contract employee’s service is still required following one year, that employee will be made permanent if he/she is at the corporation one day beyond the agreed one year period.”

The chairman added that the agreement begins the government’s action plan to address the challenge it faces with relative pension liabilities that not only exist at the corporation, but at other government agencies.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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