BTC unions to take fight to Privy Council
The Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union(BCPOU)and the Bahamas Communications Public Managers Union(BCPMU)yesterday vowed to take their fight to stop the majority share of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company to Cable and Wireless Communications to the Privy Council in London.
The disclosure came one day after the unions were defeated at the Court of Appeal level to block the 51 percent share being sold to CWC.
“We are going to go right at the end. We are going to keep pressing on and so the Privy Council is the next step,”Evans toldThe Nassau Guardian.
“It seems that is the only way we can get justice, particularly something of this magnitude,”he said.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal filed by the unions sometime after 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
The ruling dealt the latest blow to the unions in their attempt to keep the sale from going through.
The Court of Appeal justices ordered that the unions pay all costs in both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
Last month, Supreme Court Justice Neville Adderley ruled that the unions did not have the legal capacity to sue the government.
In his argument before the court, the union’s lawyer Maurice Glinton said Justice Adderley acted”prematurely in acceding to the application to have the union matter struck out.”
Yesterday, Evans said they were not surprised by the ruling. He said both unions had already cautioned their members that might be the outcome.
“Obviously, they were dejected but we prepared them for this-the likelihood of this happening,”Evans reported, adding that there are just so many things that are connected in this whole matter.
The government hopes to close the deal early next month.
BCPMU president William Carroll said the unions still have some”glimmer of hope.”
He said in time the unions will meet with Cable and Wireless. He said the unions have been cooperative throughout the whole ordeal, and there was really no interruption in service throughout.
“The fight was a Bahamian fight before. Now, we have to fight for our members. This is a BTC fight now,”Carroll said.
In the meantime, Carroll said the labor bodies will seek to protect jobs and the working conditions of the workers through a new industrial agreement.
Evans said the industrial agreement expired last September, and since then the unions have been asked to hold off on presenting a new agreement until the sale. For now, he explained the unions are covered under the old deal.
Evans said the union’s new proposal is ready for submission.
He said if the union has to negotiate with CWC, it is already an adversarial situation and the union is not backing down.
“We know that they need at least 800 of us for them to be successful and so we hold the upper hand in this case,”Evans reported.