Strike action may be imminent
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Unable to reach a satisfactory agreement as it relates wages, president of The Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU), Jennifer Brown, said it is her belief that unionized employees at the Inagua-based Morton Salt Company are allegedly being victimized as workers at other plants world-wide are adequately compensated.
“I mean they are discriminating against the Inagua plant,” Brown claimed. “ [At] all of their other plants, wages highly exceed Inagua employees’ wages.
“We are now trying to get what the other plants have been getting from eight to 10 ten years ago.
“Ten years later now they think it’s difficult, that it’s a problem to give it [a satisfactory wage increase] to the workers?”
Brown’s comments came at a press conference called by the BIMAWU to express their disappointment with the company’s latest proposal issued to the union last week.
The proposal addressed a number of amendments that the union had requested in its industrial agreement, but the union is still not satisfied with the amendments.
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.
But according to Brown, these 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.
Brown told Eyewitness News Online that Morton Salt employees have been advocating for a salary increase as the current wages are insufficient to live a sustainable life.
“The workers in Inagua have worked very hard. Last year, they had very challenging situations, however, they met the projected goals and exceeded the goals,” she lamented.
“So… it was quite disappointing to go back to the table and see that they’ve made no sort of movement. We’re very disappointed. We will have to take some form of action because it looks like that’s the only thing they will understand.”
BIMAWU General Secretary, Tyrone Morris, believes that the government is partially responsible for some of the challenges they are facing.
“Whenever you have a weak government, that is how they allow others to come into your country and take advantage of the workers,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Brown expressed that having been issued a strike certificate last November, the union may just proceed to use it. She said that based on the supply and demand of the company’s product, a strike would have a disadvantageous effect on the company’s ledger.
This article was written by Matthew Moxey – Eyewitness News Online Intern