Ferguson: Legislation must be put in place to protect workers if Bahamas accedes to WTO

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Amid fears over the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by year’s end, President of the Bahamas Public Services Union, Kimsley Ferguson, on Wednesday called on the government to ensure that legislation is put in place to protect the livelihood of Bahamians as workers are often slighted and overlooked.

His comments followed a report by the Oxford Economics firm, which presented their report on The Bahamas.

The report concluded that Bahamian workers lack the necessary skills and education to perform in a global economy.

According to the report, this contributes to the high unemployment in comparison with other countries in the region.

In an interview with Eyewitness News Online, Ferguson said senior public servants who may not necessarily have the qualifications on the job, compensate with experience.

“We are more concerned about those persons who are qualified because those persons who are qualified must now come into the public service and those public servants who they say are not qualified have to teach those persons,” Ferguson said.

“It requires training from within. We believe that if they are doing that then they should be compensated and promoted from one level to another and that’s not happening.”

The report pointed out that the labor market is characterized by poor skills however wages are high.

It also noted the urgent need to address the upgrading of the skills level and diversifying such skills to meet the changing trends in the global economy. This, according to Ferguson, is also concerning.

“Those that have keep the wheels of the public service turning are being slighted and overlooked so that is a concern for us,” he said. “We will have to monitor this WTO situation to see what will come up.

“We know that the world is quickly becoming one global village but we are hopeful that there will be legislation put in place to protect Bahamians so that they are able to survive in their very own country.”