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WSC union matter referred to Justice Charles

Bahamas Utilities Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) President Dwayne Woods (right) and dozens of Water and Sewerage Corporation employees, including managerial staff, sit in solidarity outside the corporation on University Drive. BUSAWU members exercised a strike certificate due to unresolved issues between the union and the corporation. FILE

An injunction ending strike action at the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) was extended for another week yesterday and referred to Justice Indra Charles, according to attorneys representing the WSC, the Bahamas Utilities Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) and the Water and Sewerage Management Union (WSMU).

Chief Justice Brian Moree granted the injunction on February 14, after the striking workers refused to go back to work even though the unions were informed that the minister of labor had referred the matter to the Industrial Tribunal.

Yesterday was supposed to be an inter partes hearing (where all parties are present) of the matter, however, attorney Lakeisha Hanna, who represents WSC, told The Nassau Guardian that the hearing was referred to Justice Charles due to an ongoing dispute regarding the  presidency of the WSMU.

Both Ednel Rolle and Montgomery Miller claim to be president of that union, which was named in the injunction granted by Moree, as Rolle claimed that union was striking.

However, Miller claimed that the union was not striking.

The court must first determine who is the president of that union before the inter partes hearing can take place, according to Hanna.

“The only thing that has happened so far is that the injunction was granted on the 14th,” Hanna said.

“The parties appeared before the chief justice today, which was supposed to have been the inter partes hearing, however, the matter has now been transferred to Justice Charles and the parties are scheduled to go before Justice Charles on the 2nd of March, and at that time, Justice Charles will decide the way forward with regard to the inter partes hearing.”

She added, “So, there are two separate issues, but they are connected because a determination will have to be made as to who has the authority to act on behalf of the management unio[n].”

BUSAWU President Dwayne Woods, meanwhile, said the union is “patiently” awaiting the hearing.

“Although justice delayed is justice denied, we can wait and we wait patiently,” he said.

“We feel like our rights were violated and we took it all this time, so another week wouldn’t kill us.”

BUSAWU officially went on strike on February 11, over frustration with a number of grievances, but the matter was eventually referred to the Industrial Tribunal on February 12, after Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said it “threatened the public interest”.

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