|Gibson addresses media on Labour Issues|
|Monday, 09 July 2012 10:27|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Minster of Labour and National Insurance the Hon. D. Shane Gibson, began negotiations On July 5, to resolve the outstanding issues of negotiating the pay out of over $3 million to City Market workers, left redundant after the Bahamian food chain’s closure. “We started our process of meeting with, first of all, the two umbrella organisations that represent organised labour in the country, the National Congress of Trade Unions and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Trade Unions Congress, over the past weeks. And, coming out of those meetings, we agreed to meet with individual unions, who had some concerns that we wanted to help them to address,” said Minister Gibson.
“This morning, we had an opportunity to meet with the Union representing the workers at City Markets. Of course, [they] have a long outstanding dispute in terms of their redundancy payments and pension payments due to them from their employer. We had an opportunity to speak with the employer over the past couple of weeks and again one of the representatives, two days ago, who have indicated that they are still waiting on payments from the company who bought the business from them. And, as soon as those monies are received, they’ve committed to paying out the full sum received to those persons who they owe monies to.”Mr Gibson indicated that the Director of Labour, Harcourt Brown, has been meeting with members of the Union and some of the former employees over the past couple weeks, trying to get management to move in this process. "I believe that we are closer now than we have been in the past, and hopefully we will see some movement in terms of payment very soon,” he said. “Needless to say, representatives from the ministry and the department are also very anxious to have this matter behind us. As you know, you have some employees working for City Market, up to 25 to 30 years, who are only looking for what is rightfully due to them. And, so hopefully as soon as their former employer is in a position to compensate them, they would do so. So, we want to encourage them, the former employer of City Markets, who is City Markets, and I think led by the Finlayson Group to see how they could move swiftly to compensate these individuals.”
Minister Gibson stated that the Government seeks to protect workers further by adding amendments to current legislation that further protects their pensions. “And of course, coming out of those discussions, we also talked about the possibility of putting some additional legislation in place, which would help to protect employees from these types of situations. It is very disheartening to employees when they would have worked for such as long time and they have monies that are due to them … and they’re having a difficulty collecting it. And so hopefully, their former employers would move swiftly to try and correct this problem,” said Mr. Gibson.
Minister Gibson is also in talks to resolve past labour issues with regards to outstanding concerns of prison officers. He also mentioned that he is in ongoing talks with BEC workers. Minister Gibson thanked the individual unions for giving the Ministry of Labour an opportunity to sit down and hear their concerns and to come up with resolutions to long outstanding issues.
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