NASSAU, BAHAMAS- A top union leader said yesterday labour relations in the country are the most ‘dismal’ he has seen it in over three decades.
“I’ve never seen it so bad”, said Obie Ferguson, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) president.
“I think that when you look at what is happening with a number of unions I have never seen it as bad as this in 35 years, the lack of respect of union officers, the attitude of many employers, it’s unsettling.
“We have spent more time in the courts trying to resolve basic and worker’s rights.
Ferguson continued: “The things that we had grown to accept over the last 50 years are now being questioned in the court. Personally, I have no problem with things being questioned in the court but sometimes good industrial relations work outside of the legal system. Everything now is becoming so legalistic.”
Ferguson noted the Industrial Tribunal’s inability to enforce its own decisions, has exacerbated labor issues.
“The industrial tribunal lacks capacity and the jurisdiction,” he said.
“The Tribunal can make an award but has no power to enforce it. It still has to go to the Supreme Court.
“It goes against the very foundation and purpose for which the Tribunal was established; to be efficient and cost effective without going through the often-lengthy Supreme Court process.”