ULTIMATUM: Petroleum dealers discussing strike vote and shut down of service stations

ULTIMATUM: Petroleum dealers discussing strike vote and shut down of service stations

BPDA vice president advises petroleum dealers to move to self-service, rotate staff

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Members of the Bahamas Petroleum Dealers Association (BPDA) want to call a strike vote to stop providing fuel to the public as it awaits the government’s response on its mitigation of rising fuel costs.

This comes as global supply and demand increases as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war which has inflated global oil prices.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, BPDA Vice-President Vasco Bastian warned that multiple members have called for a vote to be taken, expressing concern over the ability to buy fuel in large quantities for their business. 

Bastian insisted however that he does not support the decision. 

“I’m telling them I don’t believe that’s the right approach to take in waiting on the government’s response to discussing the high costs of fuel in the county,” he said.

“They are trying to force my hand and I am not in support of my members taking a strike vote, not selling diesel, not selling gas in this country.

“It is an immature approach to dealing with not hearing from the government.”

Bastian said the association reached out to the government nearly two weeks ago and hand-delivered letters to both Prime Minister Philip Davis and Minister of Economic Affairs Michael Halkitis, who promised a meeting with them.

He said despite these assurances several members have been pressuring and inundating him with arguments to strike.

“I’m not going to do that,” Bastian said.

“I’m not going to force the minister’s hand. I’m very disturbed by this approach and want the record to show that I’m not in support of it all.”

Bastian said he urged members to be patient with the government as he is speaking with the minister. 

Shift in Business

He explained that he has advised his members to try to reassess their operations, such as buying smaller quantities of fuel. 

Bastian said however that they have contended that if they can’t afford to buy 10,000 gallons of fuel, how can they buy 5,000 gallons if the price of gas keeps rising. 

He also suggested that this could be an opportunity to introduce either full self-service gas pumps or do limited full-service pumps.

The BPDA vice-president insisted that service stations don’t have to get rid of staff completely but could make adjustments on the back end or even reduce working hours for employees to ensure everybody could get time — suggesting a one week on, one week off, shift system.

He said he underscored to members to wait until they can sit down and discuss the issue before making any type of drastic decision or taking any draconian measures. 

“I am not in the business of inconveniencing the public,” he said.

Bastian could not indicate when the association will ultimately take the vote to strike, whether it will be this weekend or over the Easter weekend, but he insisted that “any time is a bad time”.

He has previously suggested that the government could look at adjusting its taxes on the country’s fuel imports as a way of easing the burden on motorists in the medium term. 

As of yesterday, gas ranged from $6.15 to $6.25 at the different local providers. 

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.


That won’t happen! The Government can Nationalized them and take them over, and place the Defense Force over them, and that’s it for them……

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