Members of the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union, representing unionized Morton Salt employees, on Tuesday, voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.
The strike vote took place yesterday in Matthew Town, Inagua. After the polls closed last night at 6:00 p.m., union president Jennifer Brown said she was pleased with the turnout and a strike is imminent as soon as the union receives its strike vote certificate.
Of the 90 members who registered to vote yesterday, eight were off the island and 12 did not show up to vote, therefore only 70 persons voted.
Sixty persons voted in favour of a strike and two persons voted no.
Brown said the strike vote comes following the company’s reported failure to formalize a new industrial agreement and a final wage package which she described as “insulting”.
“Right now, the real purpose of this strike vote comes as we were are negotiating a contract and the company gave us a final offer of 1.5 per cent [increase in salary]. At the last meeting they had a lawyer from Chicago who told us flatly that the company will not move from this position,” Brown claimed.
“So how could you be selling salt on a regular basis – tons and tons of salt – and making millions of dollars, harvesting millions of tons of salt and you still can’t give the people more than that?” Brown asked.
“To add to that we presented them with several contracts of the other Morton Salt plant and they are paid more than we are, but they don’t think that we should get paid what they are being paid, and that is not fair, that’s discrimination,” the union president claimed.
According to Brown, Morton Salt employees cannot live off a 1.5 per cent increase as for some persons, it only marks a 21-cent increase in their pay cheque.
“So for the week if you get eight dollars and if we times 40 hours by that 21 cents, that is just eight dollars additional per week to your cheque, and that is ridiculous,” she said.
Brown also claimed that the Company has reportedly increased its medical coverage but have failed to increase the pay of employees.
“In order to cover this, we want all of these things adjusted and we will agitate for them as well as for the completion of the contract.”