Wednesday, 22 February 2012 14:59
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) stands in support of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) employees that have been affected by recent negotiations with Restaurants Bahamas Limited (RBL). As with the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) workers a few months ago, the DNA is prepared to listen to the concerns of disenfranchised employees and to fight for those that cannot fight for themselves.
Alfred Poitier, DNA candidate for Sea Breeze, noted that according to employment laws, employers cannot take away a benefit that an employee is already receiving without the employees consent or that of the bargaining unit of the employees. This seems to be the case according to information provided by KFC, who are requesting a reduction in the salary range for their employees.
It is unfortunate that Minister of Labour has proven to be unable or unwilling to swiftly address this issue in the best interest of concerned KFC employees. Once again, Minister Dion Foulkes has demonstrated his inability to protect the most vulnerable in our society, working families.
Leader of the DNA, Branville McCartney, recently spoke out saying, “the right of workers to organize and petition their working conditions is inherently Bahamian; it is apart of our fabric. The DNA is prepared to protect that right at all costs.”
Mr Poitier said, “Realistically, I do not know any bargaining unit that would readily agree to that.”
In fact, Mr. Poitier poised several questions, which may be shared by the Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union, that offer a better understanding of why it is necessary or unnecessary to ask staff to take pay cuts. Those questions are:
- Have they sought to reduce any other expenses other than salary?
- What is the exact financial position of the business?
- How has the volume of traffic in the business decreased over the last 12, 24 or 36 months?
- If the volume of business decreased, did KFC reduce the staff count?
“We must be mindful that the livelihood of many of our Bahamian brothers and sisters—Bahamian families, are being adversely affected due to this issue during an already poor economic period. Openness is key to a favorable solution,” Mr. Poitier said, adding that the Party prays that calm heads prevail and the employees are protected from a loss of jobs or income.
The DNA Party strongly urges Minister Foulkes, the Union and KFC owner, RBL to reach a swift and immediate resolution that protects the interest of workers.
The Party will continue to champion workers’ rights and will map out the way forward for swiftly resolving Union and management disputes. A DNA government will be one where workers are seen as the beneficiaries instead of adversaries of government.
The DNA recognizes that its time that the diligent, mobile workers of this nation reap the benefits of their labor.
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