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NIB director: Services not impacted by work to rule

A decision by National Insurance Board (NIB) workers, who are members of the Union of Public Officers (UPO), to go on work to rule has not impacted daily operations, according to NIB Director Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle.

On Monday, the workers went on work to rule over an outstanding industrial agreement.

UPO President Ghion Roach said workers will be “slowing their pace”.

Yesterday, Virgill-Rolle told reporters, “We have seen no interruptions in our operations. We continue to take in claims, do our normal processing and function and that is key because the whole point of what we do really is to serve the public.”

The Ministry of Public Service and NIB have been in talks with the union, but the two sides are not seeing eye-to-eye on important financial aspects of the agreement.

In a statement on Sunday, the UPO said: “The union has not asked for any salary increases outside of what occurs normally. Incremental salary increases are based solely on the performance of the employee, as pay increases are earned and not given. The board has proposed to remove all salary increases over the five-year industrial agreement, as it seeks to continue to take away from the union worker.”

Last week, NIB workers walked off the job briefly as the issue escalated.

Minister for the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle met with union officials on Monday.

Yesterday, Virgill-Rolle said she was “very happy to see that process continuing”.

“We expect that we would be very close, very soon but we’re glad that talks are continuing,” she said.

The director added, “We obviously have to continue to negotiate. These are, of course, very tough times for the country. NIB is mindful of that. And, as was mentioned in our press statement, we have to be prudent.”

Virgill-Rolle also added, “We have promised as much as possible to keep negotiations out of the media to negotiate in good faith with each other, and we will certainly do so.”

On Friday, union members voted in what the union purported to be a strike vote, but Director of Labour John Pinder, who is the registrar of trade unions, said the poll was not valid due to deficiencies with the UPO’s application notice.

Roach said the vast majority of the union’s 406 members who voted want to strike.

He said the union intends to take the strike vote issue to court.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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