The government and the Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) have reached a preliminary agreement over the payment of a lump sum to workers, the Ministry of the Public Service and National Insurance announced yesterday.
Under the agreement, the government will pay members of the BPSU an initial lump sum of $800 in the first quarter of the fiscal year, and $600 before the end of December.
This comes over a week after union members demonstrated outside Cabinet, demanding money they claimed was owed to them by the government, and requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to resolve issues surrounding the negotiation of a new industrial agreement.
The union’s last agreement expired in 2017, and since then BPSU President Kimsley Ferguson said the union has proposed a $250 base salary increase per month in the first year, a lump sum payment of $2,500 in the second year and another $200 pay raise per month for its members in the third year.
In its statement, the government said that while the preliminary agreement was reached, and negotiations advanced around non-financial components, there were still some outstanding financial issues that must be settled.
“We value all civil servants and the contributions they make to the operation of the government and the development of our country,” Minister of State for the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle said.
“This represents the first step towards settling all outstanding issues related to ongoing labor negotiations. There are a few financial matters still to be resolved, and we trust that all parties can move forward with confidence in the process.
He added, “Moving forward, the government will continue to urge all parties to be mindful of the country’s economic outlook and the government’s fiscal constraints, including the need to exercise spending restraint and reach sustainable economic growth targets.
“We must also be mindful that we are in the early stages of our recovery, and our country remains very vulnerable to natural disasters and external economic shocks.”