Labor Director Robert Farquharson said 90 percent of the airport staff in New Providence and more than 100 airport employees throughout the Family Islands who are members of Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) failed to report to work this morning.
As travelers face long lines, Labor Minister Keith Bell asked airport workers to return to work and referred to the action as an illegal strike.
“We estimate about 90 percent of the employees in New Providence who should have reported to work didn’t report to work for the first shift this morning,” Farharquson told The Nassau Guardian.
“We know there are a little over 200 employees who were assigned in New Providence and the information is 90 percent of them who should have reported for duty this morning didn’t report for duty.
“We cannot say what the afternoon shift will be. We also know that over 107 of those who should have reported to work on the Family Island did not report to for Family Island duties.”
Farquharson said the workers involved in the industrial action include firefighters, airport screeners, along with others associated with the Airport Authority
He added that while the airports are operating and a contingency plan is in place, there are long lines at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
“We want to encourage those who have to travel, particularly on the international side, to put in an extra hour or so to get past the TSA certified agents.
The failure of the Airport Authority to conclude an industrial agreement with BPSU, along with other outstanding issues, has led to the action.
Farquharson confirmed that the matter has been referred to the Industrial Tribunal.
“Once the matter has been referred to the tribunal the law makes provisions that any action subsequent to that is deemed an illegal action,” he said.
“…Despite that however, the government, through the Ministry of Labour and Immigration and the Department of Labour, has indicated that we will immediately intervene with a view to having this matter resolved in an amicable fashion.”