BEC Workers Ordered Back To Work
Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson said management at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) filed a trade dispute after workers walked off the job.
Gibson ordered the workers back to work since the matter has been referred to the Industrial Tribunal.
Workers staged a heated protest over the firing of BEC employee Melinda Cunningham and the suspension of Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) chief shop steward Michael Edgecombe.
They blocked the entrance to BEC’s main office off Baillou Hill Road.
When senior police officers arrived a shoving match ensued.
Workers have been going head to head with BEC Chairman Leslie Miller for several months over issues regarding a new shift system and overtime pay.
They called for his removal at BEC.
Gibson said he has been advised that Cunningham’s dismissal was lawful and warned members of the BEWU not to violate the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act.
He said a meeting between the union and BEC executives late yesterday yielded no resolution and he referred the dispute to the Industrial Tribunal for settlement.
“The government is committed to ensuring that members of the public and customers of BEC receive efficient service from the corporation,” Gibson said in a statement.
“Further, the government is prepared to work with all stakeholders including the BEWU to ensure that industrial harmony is the order of the day.”
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash called for Miller’s termination following the industrial unrest.
“Once again services to the public were disrupted and staff morale in the corporation plummeted due to reckless actions by Executive Chairman of BEC Leslie Miller,” Cash said in a statement.
Cash blamed the recent industrial action taken at BEC on Miller.
“It is high time for an intervention by a responsible grown-up at a higher level,” he said.
“Sadly there is no alternative but to turn to the prime minister.
“Since being appointed to the position of executive chairman of BEC, Leslie Miller has been brazenly conducting himself like a one man wrecking crew with no restraint.”
The Nassau Guardian