Labour director slams union’s push for promotions on average performance
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Director of Labour John Pinder said The Bahamas should not want to support the promotion of “mediocrity, laziness and slackness” as he called on executives of the Union of Public Officers (UPO) to revisit their proposal to the National Insurance Board.
Dozens of the UPO members demonstrated outside NIB on Baillou Hill Road last Friday.
Industrial action continued on Monday and yesterday.
The union and NIB have failed to reach a new industrial agreement due to a stalemate over the promotion exercise and other financial matters.
A clause in the previous agreement ensure employees who received two consecutive average performance assessments would be automatically promoted.
“You don’t want to be promoting mediocrity or laziness or slackness,” Pinder told Eyewitness News Online.
“For a union to be pushing for members to be promoted on average performance, that says, that’s a lazy group of people or not so productive.
“I hate to be blunt. I would not encourage my members to only do average performance.
“That’s one of the challenges this country has right now.
“Everybody looks at The Bahamas as a country where people have jobs and don’t want to work.
“We have to change that image, especially the public sector and even though they think they are not civil servants — whether you think you are a civil servant or not — you are [employed] by the government and you are only a compliance department.
“You don’t raise revenue.
“You only make sure people are in compliance with paying, but they don’t generate revenue.”
In an interview on Monday, UPO President Ghion Roach said the promotion policy has been in place at NIB for years. He said it enables for example junior employees to become senior employees, which carries a relatively small salary increase.
He said this applies to around 30 employees.
But Pinder said the policy does not exist elsewhere in the public service, adding there must be one standard.
He pointed out that in the public services, workers must receive three consecutive above average or outstanding performances to become eligible for a promotion.
“You normally get promoted for going above and beyond the call of duty and showing that you are able to outwork your peers,” Pinder said.
“That’s how you get promoted. And so, I have to agree with the government and the minister for NIB that clause needs to be revisited and it should be at least average performance.”
Pinder added that if the action continues to the detriment of the public, the government may have to seek an injunction from the courts, though he said he expects Roach rejoin the negotiation table and revisit the matter.
Minister of Social Services and NIB Brensil Rolle has also said the promotion practice was “unacceptable”.