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Unions Hit With Injunction Against ‘Illegal Work Stoppage’

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) unions have been hit with an injunction ordering them to end their “illegal work stoppage”.

But defiant union members continued demonstrations yesterday against the proposed sale of 51 per cent of BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and union leaders threatened more industrial unrest is to come.

A significant number of BTC workers    remained off the job, disrupting operations for a second day.

BCPOU President Bernard Evans said he is willing to go to jail for the cause that he and union members are fighting for.

Many Bahamians think that would be a good idea.

Evans said all they the union is trying to do is protect the rights of Bahamians.

“They could bring the handcuffs. This is a cause I am willing to go to jail for,” he told the media just minutes before leading a motorcade through downtown Nassau, bringing traffic to a near standstill.

Evans apparently feels he is more qualified than the management of BTC to make decisions in the best interest of the company.  And he thinks threats, intimidation and illegal strikes are the way to bring the government to its knees.

“We want the government to say ‘hey there is too much agitation about this sale to Cable and Wireless. Let’s ease off and let everyone have a good Christmas and let’s take this up after the new year and see how we can explore those opportunities'”, the rogue union leader said.

Evans said his union believes in privatization and divesting BTC but wants to be in charge of how that would occur.

Acting CEO of BTC Kirk Griffin said the company was forced to take action.

BTC management obtained an injunction from the Supreme Court yesterday that restrains the unions and its leadership from “in any manner interfering with or impeding the employees of [BTC] from engaging in their lawful occupations” or “from inducing or procuring employees of [BTC] to break with their respective contracts of employment by taking part in any unlawful industrial action against [BTC].”

“Frankly speaking, the executive team at BTC is not in any way happy that we have had to take this step,” Griffin said in a statement.

“As we went on record saying, we believe that there is a much more productive way to serve the interest of all BTC stakeholders. And that is through open and honest dialogue with all the parties involved.

“We hope that this injunction would bring an end to the illegal work stoppage and we know the parties in this process are open to discussion on all matters of mutual interest,” Griffin said.

He said he remained confident that “staff, as they have been doing all along, will return to office and will provide top notch service and support to BTC’s customers as this phase of the sales process works its way.”

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