NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A trade union leader yesterday expressed fears that the working class would be left decimated by the fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Obie Ferguson, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) president told Eyewitness News, “these are difficult and trying times”.
“It is having a very serious effect on the working class,” he said.
“It is something we never could have anticipated. Our employment legislation does not adequately address it nor the collective agreements signed between the employer and the union .It’s really new territory. It raises a lot of legal questions. A lot of workers aren’t able to work because of the lockdowns and that is causing a lot of issues.”
Ferguson said he was concerned that the pandemic would be the death knell for the country’s middle class.
“At the end of the day when this is all over there may be very little left of the middle class,” he continued.
“People are losing homes, people are unable to feed their families and businesses are on the brink of closure. NIB can only do so much. How long can NIB support the thousands of people out of work. That is the reason why I suggested a redundancy fund at the national level 15 years ago.
He added: “The average Bahamian is having great difficulty surviving in these circumstances.”