Pinder calls for WSC and unions to improve relationship
Director of Labour John Pinder yesterday expressed discontent with the current relationship among the management of the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) and its two unions, suggesting that there is “disrespect” among the parties.
Pinder met with the board of WSC, the Bahamas Utilities Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU), and the Water and Sewerage Management Union (WSMU) in two separate meetings yesterday morning.
Following the meetings, Pinder told reporters, “Let me say, I don’t like the relationship between the union and management at this time. It is not a good relationship and I’ve pleaded, begged and asked the union leaders, both union leaders, to please strengthen the relationship.
“The level of disrespect, I feel as though they have to still recognize the fact that they are unions, you know. It’s important to have a good working relationship.”
Referring to tensions with the board and the unions, Pinder said the government has been able to “calm it down a bit”.
When asked if everything in the meetings went smoothly, the director said, “I wish I could’ve said that everything went smoothly. I still feel as though the unions are still in a bit of not being satisfied. I think they’re still in that unsatisfied mood with the results so far, but after Wednesday we’ll certainly know. All of the final decisions will be then.”
WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson declined to comment on the meeting yesterday.
He said, “As I’ve said to you before, I am going to defer to the director of labor.”
Pinder said the recent suspension of a WSC employee, a demonstration held by employees last week and allegations of offices being bugged by the corporation were among the issues addressed during the meeting.
Last week, BUSAWU President Dwayne Woods and union members carried out a “withdrawal of enthusiasm” outside WSC’s Thompson Boulevard headquarters.
Their concerns were that executives were attempting to minimize the influence of the representative trade union by blatantly disrespecting, intimidating, victimizing and discriminating against union members.
Around 11 p.m. on April 2, water supply went off in several areas of New Providence, impacting households, Princess Margaret Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Baha Mar and many businesses.
In a post on his Facebook page last week, Gibson said members of BUSAWU were involved with the disruption.
However, BUSAWU has denied the allegation.
Labour Minister Dion Foulkes has said the government was attempting to lower the temperature between the unions and WSC in order to bring forth a resolution to the concerns.