Morton Salt employees halt industrial action

Morton Salt employees halt industrial action
Jennifer Brown, president of the Bahamas Industrial and Manufactures Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU).

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Employees of the Morton Salt Company in Inagua have halted industrial action pending the outcome of three employees that were suspended last week.

According to Jennifer Brown, president of the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers & Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU), meetings were expected to take place last evening to determine whether or not those employees would have continued employment with the company.

“We are standing down for now [as] we do not want to jeopardize the process because we do not know what will become of those suspended employees but if the response is not favourable we will continue with our sick out.”

In a letter company officials indicated that the employees were suspended because they failed to work at optimum levels.

Brown, however, rejected this view noting that employees have exceeded all of the company’s target goals in recent months.

Labour Director John Pinder also said last week that any change in work pattern was warranted as the union is in possession of a strike certificate.

The union successfully obtained a strike certificate late last year following stalled negations.

Brown told Eyewitness News yesterday that talks have not improved.

“They still want to deny us benefits that our sister employees have enjoyed for years,” she said. “We have also called for conditions at the company to be improved in regard to safety and they are not budging on any of these concerns.”

Morton Salt is offering a wage increase of 1.5 per cent in the first year; 1.5 per cent in the second; and 1.7 per cent for the third year. Brown said that had also hoped to increase the coverage of medical and life insurance.

Attempts to reach company officials were unsuccessful yesterday, but in an earlier statement company executives said that they have actively participated in negotiations with the Bahamas Industrial, Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union since February 2018 in an effort to reach a long-term labour agreement for the salt production site.

Company officials added that they believe the offer is fair and provides for both operational and employee needs in order to preserve good jobs in that southern island.