BEWU president concerned about health of members

Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Kyle Wilson said yesterday COVID-19 is not being treated as an industrial illness for Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) workers.

He said there are at least seven cases among members on Abaco and New Providence, noting that more than 20 BPL workers are quarantined, including himself.

“You’re out there,” Willson said.

“You’re considered essential so you have to be out there 24 hours.

“Workers are out there 24 hours and I find out that, ‘Hey, we’re not covering you for any liability on the job in terms of sickness or this COVID.’

“It’s frustrating.”

Wilson said workers have to use sick time to receive National Insurance Board benefits.

He said the virus should be treated as an industrial matter.

“They’re going to tell us that it’s not? Man, the Devil is a liar,” Wilson said.

“I’m not going to sit back and allow it. This situation must be rectified immediately. For the safety of the workers, I’m going to have to ask workers to pull themselves away from these situations that are causing them to get infected with this COVID-19.

“I cannot allow it because the numbers are trending at BPL as far as I am aware.” 

BPL did not provide a comment up to press time.

On August 16, the power company said there were four confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff.

It had previously said that a contractor, who was working at the Clifton Pier Power Station, had tested positive for the virus.

“As always, our first priority remains the health and safety of all employees,” BPL said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are therefore carefully following all preventative practices outlined by The Bahamas’ Ministry of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our own internal guidelines to arrest transmission of this disease.

“We have enhanced our deep cleaning, fumigating and sanitization schedules, and have adapted our daily operations to adjust for more stringent practices to promote safety of employees and our customers.”

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Jasper Ward

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

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