After multiple employees at airports across the country followed through with Bahamas Public Services Union’s (BPSU) threat of industrial action today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper warned that the Davis administration will not be strong armed.
“We have just received confirmation from the minister of labor and the director of labour, we expect that this matter is going to be referred to the Industrial Tribunal first thing this morning, and as a result these actions should officially cease,” Cooper told reporters at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
“We are not going to take this lying down. We are going to employ all that’s available to us under the law to ensure…that our traveling public is not adversely impacted.”
The minister confirmed that employees at various airports across the country called in sick today. However, he did not have the official count.
He said while industrial action was ongoing, members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force will assist at the airports to minimize disruptions.
“The action today we thing is a strong arm tactic,” Cooper said.
The failure of the Airport Authority to conclude an industrial agreement with BPSU has lead to industrial action at LPIA and Family Island airports.
Kimsley Ferguson, president of BPSU, said yesterday that the union and authority have not had harmony “for a long time”.
The issue stems from protracted negotiations. According to Ferguson, a deal was reached but could not be executed because the dates the agreement covered had already expired.
Cooper said the government thought negotiations were going well.
“We will continue to talk to the union to negotiate in good faith,” Cooper added. “We do not consider the actions today in good faith, but we are going to continue to act on behalf of the Bahamian people and in the best interest of the Bahamian people.”