Share this page on Facebook
Democratic National Alliance calls for union representation on future Heads of Agreement negotiations
Monday, 23 January 2012 07:07

In light of the recent turmoil taking place between Atlantis and its creditors that has left the future employment of a large number of Bahamian workers, once again, up in the air, the Democratic National Alliance calls for substantive labour representation to be an integral part of any future Heads of Agreement negotiations that takes place between the Government of the Bahamas and foreign investors seeking to employ large numbers of Bahamian workers.

“It is time for any government seeking to represent the Bahamian people to see workers of this country and the leaders elected to represent worker’s interest as partners and not adversaries,” said Democratic National Alliance Chairman Mark Humes.

“These government officials who, one day a common man and the next day a so-called expert, go about making decisions for our nation’s workers, tie them up to these foreign entities in almost slave-like fashion, and then when their deals go sour, they argue among themselves as to who was most incompetent, while these same Union leaders are left fighting and fending for their workers’ lives. This has to stop.”

“This Atlantis fiasco, more so than ever, shows that there is a need for the Unions to be thoroughly consulted and/or have representation in any negotiation that takes place between foreign companies looking to employ Bahamian workers on a large scale,” Mr. Humes says. “For too long workers in this country have been caught in the middle and are left in the lurch because of the poor decision making and self-seeking interests of career politicians with little to no business acumen and little to no skills in the art of negotiation.”

The DNA Chairman says that his Party believes that there should be better collaboration between the Government and Unions to ensure that the best working conditions exists for all working Bahamians.

“Moving forward,” says Mr. Humes, who is the DNA’s candidate for the Fort Charlotte and a former PR spokesman for the Union of Tertiary Educators of the Bahamas (UTEB), “the DNA government has several initiatives that it seeks to implement to ensure that workers of this nation are better looked after and cared for.”

Mr. Humes said that, among other things, the DNA will:

  1. honor the tripartite Agreement that previous governments have failed to honor
  2. ensure that the Unions are involved in the training and/or orientation of individuals coming into the Public Service at the entry level and that ongoing training exists for Union workers and personnel
  3. facilitate the delivery of training and upgrading for workers at the College of the Bahamas, BTVI and the Labor College, especially if upgrading is a prerequisite for promotion
  4. Appoint promotions boards with union representation to consider promotion for workers in their bargaining units; and
  5. invite leaders of Unions to have observer status at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings and other international meeting where the decisions and outcomes impact on workers’ rights.

Mr. Humes said that Bahamian workers at Atlantis cannot trust his word because he told them that their jobs were safe based on a finalized agreement between Brookfield and Atlantis, knowing full well that there was no finalized agreement. “Now that the deal he said would have safeguarded the workers’ jobs was pulled from under the workers’ feet,” Mr. Humes went on to say, “Mr. Ingraham should be careful to make another round of promises, as this embarrassing debacle should be a reminder to him that it is important to be forthcoming with Bahamians in general.”

“He has no crystal ball, and despite many thinking that he is a god, he does not know or hold the future. He could not protect nor safeguard the jobs of workers at Our Lucaya or the Royal Oasis; he could not protect nor safeguard the jobs of workers with Hutchison Whampoa; nor workers at Batelco, First Caribbean, or the Road Improvement Project. As it stands, Mr. Ingraham cannot even guarantee that he will be prime minister past May of 2012,” Mr. Humes said.

The Chairman said that the one thing that the Ingraham administration he has been able to guarantee workers is a 52 week job training program, and “even that,” he says, “is for the few and select. Enough is enough.”

Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items: