Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said yesterday that he was “very concerned” by the impasse in negotiations between Morton Bahamas and Morton employees on Inagua.
“What we do not want is any disruption in terms of operation of the plant there,” Foulkes said.
“That’s not good for the workers and it’s not good for the owners of Morton Salt.
“So, as a government and as a minister of labor, I entreat them to reach a settlement. I know…the workers at Inagua, that is something that they’re trying to do. I know that management is trying to do it but there is a standoff.”
The Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU) and the Inagua-based salt company have been negotiating a new industrial agreement for several months.
The union has taken issue with employee wages, vacation times and retirement pay.
In November, 70 members of the BIMAWU took a strike vote with 68 voting in favor of a strike and two against, according to Director of Labour John Pinder.
The two parties have attempted to resolve its issues at conciliation meetings at the Department of Labour, according to Foulkes.
“We’ve settled all the articles in the new industrial agreement except the economic issues relating to increase in salary and a proposed increase for their health insurance,” he said.
“I would like to encourage both sides at Inagua. Inagua is dependent on the operation at Morton Salt. It’s a one-company town.
“It has a deep historical root at Matthew Town and I’d like to encourage both sides.
“We cannot force a settlement in any labor dispute. What we can do, as a government and from the Ministry of Labour point of view and from the Department of Labour, is to encourage both sides to sit down and talk and to give a little bit.”
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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