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BPL unions agree to VSEPs

Desmond Bannister.

Despite previously issuing threats to disrupt power service throughout the country if Bahamas Power and Light follows through with plans to reduce the staff complement at the company, both the managerial and line staff unions at BPL have signed off on a voluntary separation exercise, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said today.

Bannister did not indicate how many staff members could be impacted, however, PowerSecure’s business plan called for 233 people to be made redundant.

“I’d like to advise honorable members that yesterday both of the unions at BPL, Bahamas Electrical Utility Managerial Union and the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union, signed an agreement with BPL to facilitate voluntary separations at the corporation,” Bannister said as he contributed to the Electricity Amendment Bill in the House of Assembly.

“As I indicated I want to thank those union presidents, union members and union officers who saw the importance of this, to give their members the opportunity to be able to select to leave the corporation on very, very favorable terms and we will speak about those terms at some stage, Mr. Speaker.

“This is an entirely voluntary initiative. No one going to be forced to leave BPL.”

Executive Chairman of Bahamas Power and Light Patrick Rollins and CEO Whitney Heastie.

Last month, BPL Deputy Chairman Patrick Rollins said over the next 18 months BPL will seek to reduce its staff complement as it brings on stream certain automated services and new technology, including a smart meter system.

He said rightsizing is necessary as part of BPL’s three-pronged approach to adequately address systemic challenges at the power company.

There are 1,050 people employed at BPL, according to Rollins.

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