Foulkes asks BIMAWU and Morton Salt execs to stand down

Senator Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour.

Says both sides are expected to meet soon

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Having reached a stalemate in negotiations, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes told media on Tuesday that he has asked members of the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU) and Morton Salt executives to stand down on any form of industrial action.

“The management and the union have agreed to halt any anticipated or proposed action,” Foulkes told reporters before heading to Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“On the union side, they have agreed not to engage in any industrial action. On the management side, they have agreed to cool off on any potential lockout of the plant.”

Last week, executives of the Inagua-based Morton Salt Company released a statement threatening to lock union members out of the factory if they do not reach a happy medium within 15 days after the statement was released.

That statement was released on June 18th.

The BIMAWU has been negotiating since last year for a new industrial agreement, which would reflect an increase between 4 and 8 percent. However, the company has offered a 1.5 per cent increase, expressing last week that it does not plan to budge on this final offer.

BIMAWU President, Jennifer Brown, said the proposed increase is a slap in the face to workers and they deserve more.

Meanwhile Foulkes said the Union is now trying to set up a date for all parties to meet.

“We anticipate that maybe next week or the week after next, we’ll be able to have a meeting,” he said. “The lead negotiator for Morton Salt resides in Chicago and we are trying to confirm a date that is convenient for Mr. Obie Ferguson, who is lead negotiator for the union.”

Foulkes said that he hopes the proposed meeting will pave the way for a better outcome in future negotiations.