BPSU members say they will continue to protest until they are paid
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Hundreds of Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) members marched from Market Street to the Cabinet Office downtown yesterday to protest over what they said is the government’s refusal pay a $1,200 lump sum owed to them in line with their industrial agreement.
Union heads had anticipated meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Wednesday, but after that meeting did not take place, the union determine that it was not being taken seriously. While the demonstration was peaceful, frustrated workers said they will continue to demonstrate outside government buildings until the government honors its commitment.
“The people are tired,” a BPSU member said during the demonstration, which saw workers holds hands and sing ‘Bind us together Lord’ at one point. “We are frustrated, but yet we must go to work. Come on, we are tired. That’s why we’re here. We [are] standing here now for our money because if we keep lying down, we will get rolled over.”
Another worker told Eyewitness News Online, “It’s our money. We worked for it. Two words the prime minister needs to say and we will go home, ‘you have the money’. They’re lucky we are good people because anywhere else, there would have been hell in Harlem.”
Addressing reporters amid the large crowd gathered, BPSU President Kimsley Ferguson said he was disappointed the prime minister did not take the time out to speak to the people.
“When the masses of the country assemble, the prime minister should have or sent someone on his behalf to say something to the people,” he charged. “I don’t know if they are not taking us seriously, but we will continue to agitate until we get the desired result.”
National Congress of Trade Unions (NCTUB) President Bernard Evans said he stands with the BPSU.
“If we are not satisfied today, we will continue to come every day,” he said. “It’s the people’s money and they want it.”
After waiting for nearly two hours in the rain, the union left the area of the Churchill Building.
However, Ferguson said an emergency meeting will be held today to determine the way forward.