In less than 24-hours, unions across the country plan to “shut the country down” in what representatives said is a response to government not intervening over a recent court ruling that dismissed the industrial agreement for Morton Salt employees.
Jennifer Brown, president of the Bahamas Industrial and Manufactures Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU) – the entity representing Morton Salt workers – told Eyewitness News that employees are also calling for an investigation into how the laws of the country are determined by the courts.
“How is it that the laws that the government has on the books are not considered by the court of appeal,” she questioned.
“They are doing what they want to do, so we need to agitate and investigate what is going on.”
Brown said she and her membership are in full support of the strike planned for Tuesday, April 10, with the support of the National Congress of Trade Unions (NCTU) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
“It seems as if the employers are the ones who always come out on top and never the workers,” she said.
“It’s time for a change.”
Her comments were echoed by Bernard Evans, president of NCTU, who told Eyewitness News that while the National Tripartite Council (NTC) was formed to avoid matters like this, the council seems to do more harm than good.
The planned strike, he said, is now its only alternative.
“Demonstrating will be disruptive, but we feel that is what we have to do at this time for our survival,” he made clear.
“We will have to withdraw our labour and shut the country down if we have to because that ruling goes against the core of labor in the country.”
Evans suggested that the government “do away with that loophole that allows for the judicial system to render such a ruling.”
According to him, an amendment to the labour laws would fix the issue.
Meanwhile labour officials have said that the ruling is still under review by the Attorney General’s office.