NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Following a second day of industrial unrest at the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), the opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) on Wednesday lambasted the government, claiming that they had turned a blind eye to a number of unions and labour issues in the country.
From Grand Bahama in the north where Grand Lucayan managers have been unable to secure their voluntary packages to Inagua in the south where Morton Salt employees are at odds with management; PLP leader Philip Davis said it is only a matter of time before government will see the full brunt of union unrest in the country.
The PLP leader further supported his argument by highlighting union woes which have made headlines over the past few months including those of the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU), the Doctors Union, the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Bahamas Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) in New Providence.
“The issues that are impacting and affecting workers in this country are not being addressed as they ought to be,” he said.
“What I am observing here is arrogance and an unwillingness to appreciate what is required of a government entity; particularly as it relates to how employees are being dealt with.”
Davis said employers need to view their employees as partners and suggested that government take a page out of the opposition’s book when it comes to settling union issues.
“I can tell you what we did as the opposition. I took it upon myself and wrote to the president of Morton Salt in Chicago and asked them to intervene,” he said.
“Because, a number of the issues that impact the unions here are basically short-term and it would not all go well for the long-term goals of the corporation so they needed to step in and resolve those issues.”
Davis noted that coming to the rescue of Morton Salt employees is just one in a list of other instances where the opposition has assisted employees in distress.
According to Davis, while government remained mum on an issue at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) where employees at the banking institution were allegedly victims of verbal abuse at the hands of one of its former senior executives; he reportedly came to their rescue.
“They [government] did nothing,” Davis asserted.
“I intervened and wrote a letter to the chairman of RBC in Canada and had discussions with them which eventually resulted in that person having to pack his bags.
“Where was the government in this matter?”
Davis called on government to ‘step up to the plate’ and ensure that the rights of workers are not disenfranchised.
“The Royal Bank employees know what I did and the Morton Salt employees know what I did; but, government has to be able to demonstrate its care and concern for the people,” he said.
“As the opposition its only so much that we can do because we do not have the resources of the government to assist workers as they do.”