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BTC unions promise industrial action

Bahamas Telecommunications Company trade unions yesterday vowed to carry out industrial action now that the government and Cable and Wireless Communications have signed agreements for the sale of a majority of the shares in BTC to CWC.

“I see now the police are putting up barricades again as if they are preparing for animals, but the will of the people is the strength of the people. I guess if The Bahamas is ready and this government is ready to see a small Egypt then they are going to get it,”said Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union(BCPOU)President Bernard Evans.

“Throughout the ensuing days and weeks to come until this debate begins we will continue to agitate,”he stated.

“I want to apologize right now publicly to all of our valued customers to be patient with us, but needless to say that services will be affected somewhat. Just be patient with us. We are fighting for a cause we believe[in]and we know is bigger than BTC members and employees. We are fighting for the future of our children,”Evans warned.

But at a signing ceremony with Cable and Wireless officials in the Cabinet Office, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the government is satisfied it has found the right partner for BTC.

Evans said the only thing that would prevent an all out strike is if the government backs out of the deal with Cable and Wireless. He said not even negotiations for the minority share sale would be good enough to stop industrial action.

“Any part of Cable and Wireless, whether it would be one percent, is a pollution that we don’t need,”Evans said.

Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union President William Carroll said the union stands resolute that BTC should remain Bahamian owned.

“What is so fundamentally wrong with this is that we have a court case and the government is now signing almost a binding MOU that it will cost the government if the court rules in our favor some money to get out of.”

Despite a promise by the unions that a large showing of support by employees of BTC would be in Parliament Square to show their opposition to the sale, only about 50 employees showed up in the city’s center making for an uneventful protest yesterday.

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