NASSAU, BAHAMAS – In an effort to get the attention of management, more than 100 National Insurance Board (NIB) employees temporary left their posts and gathered in front of NIB’s main office on Baillou Hill Road on Tuesday, chanting “enough is enough”.
President of the Union of Public Officers, Marvin Duncombe, told Eyewitness News Online that the union had been locked in discussions with the board for nearly six months, but they have now reached an impasse as management has refused to negotiate in good faith.
“We are asking for reasonable package,” Duncombe said. “We are living in an era where everything is inflated and they are saying to us that they are giving nothing. How do you expect us to live? Are supposed to accept that? We will not.”
Duncombe also blamed the late payment of NIB benefits on management’s refusal to fix an outdated system.
“You asking why can’t I get maternity benefits, sick benefits or unemployment benefits, well the reason why is we’re operating with a system that has been broken and no one has the will to fix it,” he said.
“And we are here to stand strong and say we will not work with the system anymore.”
The union president also questioned the hiring practices of NIB, alleging that an individual was hired to work at NIB on a family island and was not qualified to fill the post. He said persons on this island are outraged as NIB continues to operate like a “tuck shop”.
Duncombe said the union is prepared to “do whatever is necessary, if it means shutting down NIB offices from Grand Bahama to Inagua” until their concerns are addressed.