WSC union calls for expedition of legal dispute

WSC union calls for expedition of legal dispute
Bahamas Utilities Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) President Dwayne Woods (file photo)

Judicial hearing set for March 20

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Utilities Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) President Dwayne Woods called on the Supreme Court to expedite the hearing on the injunction blocking Water and Sewerage Corporation workers from taking industrial action.

Woods told Eyewitness News the union continues to honour the court injunction, but stressed the primary issues at the corporation persist.

A judicial review regarding the presidency of the Water and Sewerage Management Union must take place before the hearing for the injunction takes place.

The judicial review has been set for March 20 before Justice Indra Charles.

However, Woods said he hopes that date can be pushed up to bring a resolution to the matter.

“With the court extending the injunction, the corporation continues to abuse the workers,” he said.

“… We are calling for them to expedite the matter as soon as possible.”

Eyewitness News understands the union plans to demonstrate today.

Chief Justice Brian Moree granted an injunction on February 14, ending industrial action at the corporation.

The injunction followed after workers refused to head back to work even after the minister of labour informed the line-staff and managerial unions that he had referred the matter to the Industrial Tribunal.

BUSAWU announced work-to-rule on February 6.

Some members reportedly participated in a sickout on February 7 and 10.

The union went on strike on February 11.

The union has agitated for resolution over overtime and holiday pay for post-Hurricane Dorian recovery work; docked salary for travel expenses; the discontinuation of responsibility allowance payments, which the union claimed was 13 months overdue; and concerns over promotion exercises; among other issues.

However, the WSC has claimed a handful of employees assigned to work in Abaco after the storm “fraudulently” amassed hundreds of overtime; responsibility allowance is not an automatic entitlement, but granted under the industrial agreement in particular circumstances; and promotion exercises were based on merit and done at the “discretion of the corporation”.

The union has called for WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson to be removed and pressed for a new industrial agreement to be signed.

The previous agreement expired in June 2018.

Woods has said the union submitted a new proposal in May, but had yet to receive a counter proposal.