Union boss urges BTC chairman to debate or resign
Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union President William Carroll yesterday called on Bahamas Telecommunications Company Chairman Julian Francis to follow through with his challenge to debate the issue of the sale of the company or step down from the lofty post.
While speaking at a press conference held yesterday at the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union(BCPOU)headquarters on Farrington Road, Carroll alleged that it is totally unacceptable that Francis has now sought to renege on his challenge.
“To our dismay and disappointment, unofficial information has come to the attention of the unions today, which suggest that Mr. Francis has changed his mind and wants to withdraw the challenge that he issued. This position apparently adopted by Mr. Francis is completely unacceptable and we call on him to live up to his challenge,”Carroll reported.
Attempts byThe Nassau Guardianto speak with Francis on the matter late yesterday afternoon proved futile. Messages left on his cell phone were not returned up to press time. ButGuardiansources said Francis withdrew from the debate.
According to Carroll after Francis reportedly issued the challenge late last month, the unions immediately commenced a campaign to advertise the event by booking ads in bothThe Nassau Guardianand Tribune, and also printed thousands of fliers for distribution throughout the country.
Carroll further claimed that talk show hosts Wendall Jones and Jeffrey Lloyd approached the unions about airing the debate and the unions negotiated the terms of debate and”are now ready to engage Mr. Francis.”
But Carroll alleged yesterday that this would not be the case.
The union boss suggested that the government has lost faith in Francis and claimed that Francis is afraid of going through with the debate.
The sale of 51 percent of BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC)became a hot topic throughout the country since the government announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding with CWC on December 1.
The unions have objected to the deal, claiming that CWC has a bad track record throughout the Caribbean with regard to labor relations. The union’s objection to the sale heightened when it was revealed that CWC had requested a 30 percent reduction in staff once the deal was made. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has said that the staff would be offered separation packages instead of being axed.
The unions have since demonstrated against the move and promised heightened industrial action if government forges ahead with the deal.