Bahamas Utilities Service and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) President Dwayne Woods said yesterday that the union has no objections to the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) seeking to reduce its staff through a voluntary separation package (VSEP) process.
WSC announced on Monday that it will be rightsizing in the next few months in an effort to boost efficiency and streamline operations.
“Up until [Monday], the Water and Sewerage Corporation has not consulted the union, in relation to the VSEP packages,” Woods told The Nassau Guardian.
“We learned about this VSEP package in a press conference that was done recently.
“While I was in a meeting after the press conference with the chairman and the general manager, the union enquired and we enquired verbally after writing to the corporation on more than four consecutive times, dating as far back as August 11 and putting forward voluntary separation packages for more than 15 persons.
“To date, we have yet to get a response from the corporation in writing.
“But after questioning the general manager and the executive chairman [on Monday], they would have verbally told the union that they are in the process and it’s in the embryonic stages of putting packets together.
“The union made it abundantly clear that we are seeking the same, so we have no objections to them putting a package together and offering it, so long as it remains VSEP and that we are able to only allow voluntary persons to accept the packages and it is not forced on anyone else.
“They also mentioned to the union that the package will mirror somewhat of that of BPL (Bahamas Power and Light).
“I’m sure that, based on the climate in the corporation, that persons will leave no stone unturned in accepting a generous package.”
Earlier this year BPL announced that it would conduct a VSEP exercise as well.
About 300 BPL employees were approved for the VSEPs.
While he would not say how many people the board hopes would accept the packages, WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson said the corporation could do with a voluntary staff reduction of 80 to 100 people.
The WSC employs 420 people.
Woods said the union stands “willing, ready and able” to face any challenges that it may confront in regard to the VSEP packages.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications