BTC trade unions meet with Opposition leader

BTC trade unions meet with Opposition leader
Leader of the Opposition, Phillip Brave Davis.

The Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) and the Bahamas Communications Public Managers Union (BCPMU) met with Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis on Monday to review the concerns of the Trade Unions in light of the impending downsizing at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company.

The BCPOU and BCPMU were represented by their presidents Dino Rolle and Ricardo Thompson.

BCPOU president Dino Rolle said there has to be more inclusive and creative ways for companies to remain profitable while meeting its corporative objectives.

He explained that in 1999, when BTC was still under Bahamian control, during its first Voluntary Separation Program (VSEP), instead of canceling jobs for Bahamians, opportunities were created.

A number of contracts, he said, were awarded to local Bahamian companies and VSEP staff members also formed companies and successfully bid and won proposals to provide BTC with services.

Rolle said it was a ‘win-win’ for all involved and BTC was able to minimize staff costs and many former employees became entrepreneurs.

“This is the type of partnership and creativity that we are encouraging this current group of Executives to explore,”  Rolle said.

“We need to act and operate in the best interest of this country and its people. We simply can’t allow these big businesses to continue to send people on the employment lines while they ship Bahamian jobs overseas.

“This group of BTC executives have not exhausted every avenue to make this company profitable in the face of competition.”

According to Rolle, mobile competition is not new, and BTC has other lines of business with potential for growth.  He said too little effort has been placed on building BTC’s position as a quad-play provider and this is where opportunity exists.

“To depend on our mobile revenues alone in these changing times is not a wise business approach.”

Ricardo Thompson, President of the BCPMU said the support and ear of Phillip “Brave” Davis is encouraging.

“We need the support of all facets of government as we’re working feverishly to preserve the jobs of our members,” he said.

Thompson noted that he was discouraged by the recent comments made by the BTC CEO who stated that BTC was targeting only “non-productive” staff.  He said BTC has not had a functioning performance management system for over two years.

“So, I’m curious as to how the CEO is establishing a ‘baseline’ to measure and determine who are the productive employees,” he asked. “There is no objective metric in the company for doing so.”

Both Union Presidents stated that they remain vigilant in their pursuits and they will continue to meet with the relevant government stakeholders to advance their cause.

“We have a meeting with the BTC Board this week, and we are working to secure a meeting with the Minister of Labour”, advised Rolle.

The BCPOU and the BCPMU are the sole bargaining units for line-staff and managers, respectively at BTC.