NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) on Wednesday called on the government to become more actively engaged in the stalemate that presently exists between the Inagua-based Morton Salt Company Limited and the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU).
As it now stands, negotiations remain at an impasse and tensions reached a boiling point within the union earlier this week, after its president was issued a letter which threatened to lock employees out of the salt plant if a “happy medium” of negotiations is not achieved within the next 15 days.
“Failing such a response or the arrival to a happy medium between the parties, the Company intends to proceed with its lockout at the expiry of 15 days from the date of this letter,” said Morton salt in a three-page letter issued Tuesday to Jennifer Brown, president of the BIMAWU.
Yesterday, PLP chairman Fred Mitchell expressed that Morton Salt employees and the island generally cannot afford a lockout.
“I read with alarm in this morning’s newspapers that the owners of the Morton Salt plant in Inagua are threatening a labour lockout, essentially bringing that island’s economy to a standstill and the misery index off the charts for employees and residents there,” Mitchell said.
“I cautioned this intransigent FNM government that Inagua is a company town and that more must be done by the Labour Minister to diffuse this volatile situation on that island.
“The relaxed and cavalier attitude of this government is partly responsible for this crisis in Inagua.”
Meanwhile the BIMAWU is seeking a wage increase between four and eight percent, but Morton Salt said a 1.5 per cent increase represents the Company’s best and final offer, and they are not in a position to make further offers.
Attempts to reach Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes on Wednesday for comment proved futile.