NASSAU, BAHAMAS – While wage negotiations with the Inagua-based Morton Salt Company and the union representing workers remain at an impasse, the union expressed fresh concerns on Monday, alleging that the company is not only engaging in ‘union busting’ tactics, but has also breached its industrial agreement.
“Over the weekend, March 16 and 17, 2019, the company breeched the industrial agreement in that permanent workers were denied overtime [pay] contrary to the agreement, by scheduling part-time workers to work the overtime hours when permanent workers were willing and able to work the overtime,” The Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers & Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU) claimed in a statement released last night.
The BIMAWU also expressed that workers at Morton Salt are unenthused, especially after pushing to achieve the goals set out for 2018 and not getting any sizeable bonus returns.
“Workers made and exceeded [production] by 790 tons. The company has given no satisfactory bonus, while managerial staff took home $14,000 and $18,000 while workers, who actually worked, received $237,” the union claimed.
The union also noted that the company promised more than two weeks ago to give them a counterproposal based on their demand for a four per cent increase in wages, but to date, union heads were not contacted.
“I don’t know why it is taking so long to prepare when we have been negotiating for over a year now,” the union said.
After on-going negotiations last year, the Morton Salt Company gave the union a final offer of 1.5 per cent increase in salary. However, this amount did not change for 2019, as outlined in the company’s latest proposal offered to the union in January of this year.
The portion of the proposal which focuses on wage rate scales and classifications outlines a final wage adjustment package of 1.5 per cent for March 2018; 1.5 per cent in March 2019; 1.7 per cent in March 2020 and 1.9 per cent in March 2021.
According to the union, these percentages are the same figures that the company presented to the union, with the exception of adding a new ‘leg’ in 2021 of 1.9 per cent.
The union was issued a strike certificate last December but to date, the union has not used it despite repeated threats that it would.
Last week, Vice President of the BIMAWU, Adrian Lightbourne told Eyewitness News that the union wants to ensure that it has all of its employees on board before leading a strike.
Meanwhile, Paul Jackiezwicz, the Senior Communications Manager at Morton Salt, Inc told Eyewitness News Online last week that as a general practice, the company has hired part-time employees to help meet production demand.