Halifax-based Emera Inc. was on the verge of a labour disruption through its Grand Bahama Power Co. subsidiary Thursday after unionized workers with a strike mandate were ordered into a mandatory cooling off period by the government.
“We want people in Nova Scotia to know what is happening here,” Leslie Lightbourne, president of the Commonwealth Electrical Workers union, said in an interview.
Lightbourne said talks through a conciliator were continuing Thursday. Through a jumbled telephone connection, he said he could not speculate if the cooling off period might help avert a strike.
The union represents about 111 workers involved with customer service, transmission and distribution, energy generation and administration.
At a vote last week, 88 of the 89 workers who voted supported a strike.
However, the Bahamian government ordered a cooling off period before the workers could obtain the required certification to participate in a legal strike.
According to the Tribune newspaper in Freeport, the labour dispute relates to the firing of a longtime employee after a minor oil spill. The spill was reportedly contained and involved less than $200 worth of oil.
The Freeport News on Grand Bahama reported that tensions are mounting between the company and the union over the hiring of non-union workers at the power company’s new $80-million generating plant.