BPSU to govt.: pay lump sum now

BPSU to govt.: pay lump sum now
President of the Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) Kimsley Ferguson.

Union rejects govt’s offer of split lump sum payments

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) members overwhelmingly voted Monday night not to accept the government’s offer to split a lump sum payment owed to them in half.

The union met with the government over the weekend to discuss its ability to finance a payment to public officers for back to school preparations – as laid out in their industrial agreement.

BPSU executives proposed a lump sum payment of $1,200, however Cabinet suggested splitting the payment into two lump sums of $600 each — one in August and another in December.

The total value of the lump sum is an estimated $20 million. However, BPSU President Kimsley Ferguson said his members need the money now.

“Persons are very stretched at this time preparing their children from back to school,” he said.

“One women left the meeting and came back with a receipt where she spent $375 on shoes and that’s not books or school or uniforms, and so there is a need for the entire amount that we asked for in order for persons to effectively prepare their children for back to school.”

Ferguson said he awaiting a response from Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on whether the government is willing to pay the entire sum.

“Initially when we started our discussion the prime minister indicated that he would have to find out what time of wiggle room he had and he expressed that he was advised there was very little wiggle room,” Ferguson said. “If the government persists in holding [its] position we will make every effort to persuade them that their offer is not as effective as persons need the money….”

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Ministry of Finance said they were not in a position to pay the lump sum at this time.