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Davis calls on PM to fire Gibson from WSC board

Leader of the Opposition Philip Brave Davis (center) listens to the concerns of Water and Sewerage Corporation employees during a press conference outside the corporation on University Drive yesterday. Ahvia J. Campbell

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday called on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to fire Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson.

“First of all, I think the prime minister should remove this chairman,” Davis said.

“I mean, he has caused, he has wreaked too much havoc in the workplace at the Water and Sewerage [Corporation]. He should be fired and fired immediately.

“He, the prime minister, should intervene and hear the cries of these workers very simply. They earn their overtime pay and the chairman has refused to pay them. What is that all about?”

Gibson could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Davis made the comments as he met with members of the Water and Sewerage Managerial Union (WSMU) and Bahamas Utilities Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) outside the WSC headquarters on University Drive.

BUSAWU members have been on strike since Tuesday.

Among the union’s concerns are the alleged failure of the corporation to pay employees for overtime work – including on Abaco “in unsavory and unsanitary conditions” in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian; alleged “micromanagement” from Gibson hampering employees and management from performing effectively; failure to comply with stage four of the grievance procedure; responsibility allowance payment being discontinued; “heartless” deduction of salary for travel allowance; “unfamiliar method of promotion”; the “structural collapse” of human resources due to absences in management, and that WSC executives have yet to submit a counter-proposal to the union’s proposed new industrial agreement, which it submitted last May.

On Wednesday, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said the strike action by the union has “threatened the public interest”, noting that the matter has been referred to the Industrial Tribunal.

The Industrial Relations Act mandates that any person participating in a strike action must “discontinue” that action once the matter is referred to the Industrial Tribunal.

Despite having received notice, BUSAWU members yesterday continued their withdrawal of services with some chanting, “Still on strike.”

BUSAWU President Dwayne Woods thanked Davis “for coming to the rescue of our concerns”.

“We hope that the government will listen to their words of wisdom,” he said.

“Again, we have another concern today as we look around and we see our resources of the police force and the defense force being exploited for no reason at the cost of the taxpayers. We want to say to the prime minister that there’s no need for that. We don’t commit treason and we consider sabotaging the infrastructure as treason.”

He was referring to the presence of law enforcement officers at the corporation.

He continued, “We are honest workers simply concerned [with] achieving what we have worked for. So, we look forward to him taking this matter in hand and taking this bull out of the china shop, this young bull out of the china shop from breaking up his crystals who [are] the chief assets of the Water and Sewerage Corporation, the workers.”

On Thursday, Gibson said that the ongoing strike is “illegal” and said that those workers who participated will have their pay docked.

“In talking to the director of labor, we concluded, based on the fact that obviously the matter has been referred to the Industrial Tribunal, the union is currently engaged in an illegal strike,” he said.

Gibson added, “Any time there’s an issue of an illegal strike, obviously the entity, whatever it might be – Water and Sewerage or any other entity – has to dock the day, the time, from the salaries of those persons who are willfully participating in an illegal strike.”

He said the strike has not impacted the corporation’s services.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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