Wednesday, Jul 17, 2019
HomeNewsStrike vote today by BEC middle managers

Strike vote today by BEC middle managers

More than 100 middle managers at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation will go through with their planned strike vote today, as they continue to fight for a new industrial agreement.

Bahamas Electrical Utility Managerial Union(BEUMU) President Irvin Dean said the polls are scheduled to open at 9 a.m. at the House of Labour on Wulff Road and close some eight hours later at 5 p.m.

The strike vote takes place a week after the managers called in sick, in protest of the failure of BEC’s executive management to present them with a proposal for a new agreement. The old agreement expired more than three years ago.

Dean said he expects the majority of the middle managers to participate in today’s poll.

“I am in the process of making plans now to fly in Family Island managers if we have to. If there is a local office on each of the islands then they will vote there and that is as simple as it is. We are going to try to get this thing done before midday tomorrow and then we will announce what the results are. We think that we are going to have an overwhelming majority in support of a strike,”he said.

On Tuesday, in a last minute attempt to stave off the strike vote, BEC’s executive management sent a letter to the labor body, but Dean said it only identified the persons of the corporation’s negotiating team. He also stressed that there was no mention of a meeting date.

Dean toldThe Nassau Guardianthat he responded via a letter, suggesting that a meeting be held this Friday. He accused BEC’s management of using stalling tactics.

“We don’t plan on this dragging on forever. This is another approach of procrastination, and it is not going to work,”Dean said.”We are sticking to our position. We are going to invoke Article 47(of the Industrial Relations Act), which means to roll the contract forward, plain and simple. We don’t have to negotiate anything. They just need to bring a calculator.”

Dean suggested a clause in the old agreement states that if a new industrial agreement cannot be negotiated, the old agreement, which expired September 2007, would have to be honored by the corporation.

He said while the vote will take place today, it does not mean that industrial action will immediately follow. He warned, however, that the employees”are hot and angry.”

“We are going to the negotiation meeting in good faith and we will see what the mood is like. If it looks like they are going to drag it on, then we are going to have a problem,”he said.

Up to press time yesterday, Dean was unwilling to disclose what impact it would have on the corporation if the middle managers were to pull their services. In the past, the corporation sought to station security personnel at various BEC sites in a bid to counteract any possible attempt to disrupt services.

All attempts to speak with BEC General Manager Kevin Basden proved futile up to press time last night.

 

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HomeNewsFormer candidate appealing decision on union poll

Former candidate appealing decision on union poll

A former presidential candidate in the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union(BEWU) elections is appealing the decision of the Registrar of Trade Unions, Harcourt Brown to declare last month’s poll null and void.

Clyde Cartwright, who was one of three candidates vying for the top post, is appealing to Labour Minister Dion Foulkes to overturn the ruling.

The BEWU represents hundreds of line-staff workers at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation(BEC).

Brown declared the poll null and void after it was discovered that Dexter Cartwright, a security supervisor, was nominated and ran for the post of secretary general contrary to a provision in the union’s constitution. That provision states that no member may run or hold office in contravention of any legal contract or agreement the union has with any other party.

The recognition agreement between BEC and BEWU states that while management recognizes the union as the sole bargaining agent for all employees except those in management, the corporation and the union agree that security personnel would not actively participate in union affairs or in industrial action.

The Department of Labour stated that because the secretary general’s position is the central issue the registrar of trade unions cannot certify the other positions, as the governing act does not permit the registrar to certify only a portion of the ballot.

When contacted yesterday Cartwright wished only to say that he is appealing on the grounds that a run-off be held for the secretary post and all other positions be upheld by the department.

The results of the election were never made public, butThe Nassau Guardianunderstands that Cartwright may have edged out his opponents to capture the presidential post by a very slim margin.

Minister Foulkes said the hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 2.30 p.m.

He explained that the appeal process is really a procedure set out in the Industrial Relations Act.

Foulkes said any decision of the registrar of trade unions can be appealed to the minister by the person who feels that the decision was not the proper one.

 

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