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[Bahamas] Transport minister fires back at air traffic union

Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers’ Union
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[Bahamas] Transport minister fires back at air traffic union

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Sep 05, 2014

http://www.thenassauguardian.com/news/5 ... ffic-union

[Bahamas] Transport minister fires back at air traffic union
ROYSTON JONES JR. Guardian Staff Reporter
Sep 04, 2014

Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin yesterday branded allegations that two employees in her ministry have been victimized as “false, scurrilous and scandalous”.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union (BATCU) President Lashan Gray claimed two employees were being threatened with suspension after they proposed a temporary suspension of air traffic services because of concerns over working conditions.

“We have two of our union members being victimized and threatened with disciplinary action for which there is no justification,” Gray said. “The Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union will not accept the rights of our membership being violated, nor our members victimized, as our employer continues to disregard our existing industrial agreement and the Health and Safety Act.”

Gray also raised concerns about the water supply and mold.

Hanna-Martin stood in the House of Assembly and rejected the allegations. “In my various inquiries this morning, I am unable to find anyone to whom such a complaint was made,” she said. “However, we are investigating the claims and if found they will be rectified immediately. Mr. Speaker, there is a situation where we have members of civil aviation, the old airport terminal, and we are seeking to relocate them... I am told now it will be the second week in September. I know in that instance we are very anxious to have those people moved out of that building. But, in terms of the tower, we are not aware of any allegations.”

Gray also claimed that the Department of Civil Aviation has failed to establish a health and safety committee required under the Health and Safety Act.

Hanna-Martin admitted that the committee has not been formed, but said steps are being taken to establish one.

The BATCU has filed a trade dispute with the Department of Labour, according to Gray. She said the union is prepared to take whatever action it must.

But Hanna-Martin said if this happens, it will not be because the union is not getting cooperation from the government. “I wish the Bahamian people to know that if that, in fact, does take place, it does so within the context of an employer who is not only listening, but is standing ready to respond to all the concerns Mr. Speaker,” she said. “And I wish also to point out, Mr. Speaker, I am advised that there has been a convention with this union and the minister of labor that where there are issues, there would be communication and consequent resolution. “If, within that context, the threat of a strike is executed, I am inviting the Bahamian people to give it careful analysis, particularly in light of the recent assertions by the Trade Union?Congress (TUC) of efforts they wish to take.”

TUC President Obie Ferguson has said the umbrella union is preparing for “mass industrial action” after “fruitless” talks with Prime Minister Perry Christie last month. The union’s issues range from sick and vacation pay to holiday benefits and employees on contract affecting several of the TUC’s affiliates.

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