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BTC unions want CEO out

Members of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) and the Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union (BCPMU) yesterday called for the resignations of Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) CEO Garfield “Garry” Sinclair and Liberty Latin America CEO Balan Nair after they said a meeting to discuss voluntary separation packages (VSEPs) for employees did not go well.

In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Sinclair assured that any separation packages will be voluntary.

“We’ve never had an involuntary exercise,” he said.

“All we’ve ever had in trying to reshape our operating model here is voluntary exercises.

“So, is there a likelihood that we would engage in one again? Absolutely, but it will be voluntary.”

Sinclair, a Jamaican native, was appointed to the position last August.

The two unions at BTC say they’ve had enough of Sinclair.

“We’ve come out today to say that we’ve had enough of Mr. Sinclair, and Mr. Sinclair’s time is up,” BCPOU President Dino Rolle said yesterday.

“We are expressing our displeasure, expressing our disgust over what we’ve heard in Jamaica, notwithstanding the weak and half-hearted apology by one Balan Nair.

“We too ask that Balan Nair resign because we are not interested in continuing a relationship with one Balan Nair.”

Nair came under fire after videos of him criticizing BTC and its employees began making the rounds.

Nair made the comments at a recent Liberty Global town hall meeting in Jamaica, during which he said that BTC is one of Liberty Latin America’s lowest performing subsidiaries. Nair also joked about the prime minister asking for more jobs for Bahamians and being unable to look Sinclair in the eyes. He later apologized for his comments.

Rolle continued, “It was only this morning, notwithstanding our agreement that we have with BTC, that we would come together, we would sit down and we would negotiate a separation package for our members, those who choose to separate from this company.

“But out of the usual disrespect that Mr. Sinclair has for the staff and for the union, he indicated to us that he is not interested in anymore conversations with us because he is going to go ahead with his VSEP exercise and send Bahamians home anyhow.

“I call on the prime minister today. Mr Garfield Sinclair’s time is up, and Mr. Sinclair’s status, whatever that is, ought to be revoked.”

BCPMU President Ricardo Thompson said that BTC is planning to lay off 100 employees.

“Well, the letter they sent out says 100, but we don’t trust them,” he said.

“They said voluntary separation, but they came back with the word redundancy.”

He added, “We just received a letter.

“I received one earlier, making it clear that the consultation time has passed.

“They are going to unilaterally make their decisions, which we know is definitely against the union agreement, and we’re going to challenge that.

“The wording, the way it was written, you can smell the blood coming from the letter.

“I believe there is anger and frustration on their end, but we’re going to stand up for our people. We don’t expect our Bahamian employees, who built this company, to go down this way. So we are really looking for whatever it takes legally to make sure our employees win.”

Asked what action the union will take should negotiations not continue, Thompson said, “There are a lot of avenues we can take, and we’re going to take every single one of them.”

BTC released a statement from Sinclair last Sunday explaining that the company is not planning any involuntary separation exercise for BTC employees.

Rachel Knowles

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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