An agreement between the National Insurance Board (NIB) and the Union of Public Officers (UPO) was signed Tuesday after months of industrial action from UPO members.
“It’s a five-year industrial agreement that we would have signed yesterday (Tuesday),” NIB Director Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
“Obviously, it would have gone on to the Department of Labour for registration, but we were able to conclude all of our negotiations over the last few weeks and then come to the agreement to sign.”
She added, “This agreement took about one year to negotiate, which was much quicker than the last one – which took about three years to negotiate. It’s effective the first of January, 2019.”
Rolle also said that upon signing the agreement, staff would have received a $2,500 lump sum payment.
Clarifying that this would not have been part of the $1,400 government promised to some public workers last month, Rolle said: “Persons who are part of the bargaining unit of the Union of Public Officers would have received, as appropriate, a lump sum payment.
“It was across the board, but it was based on your length of service during the year. For the first year of your agreement, the outcome was a $2,500 payment, in terms of if you had been there the whole year or part of the year.”
She further stated that some members received salary increases, based on their performance.
“So, we do have salary adjustments based on performance, a performance management system,” Rolle said.
“Every year, we have, as part of the performance management cycle in our agreement, based on your performance rating, that determines how salaries move. It was a performance-based system.”
The previous industrial agreement expired in December 2018, and since then, the UPO has lamented that negotiations for a new agreement had been “stalled” since April.
Minister of National Insurance and Public Service Brensil Rolle previously set a November 30 deadline for negotiations to be completed, and noted last month that the deadline had already passed.
Yesterday, UPO President Ghion Roach told The Nassau Guardian that UPO members are satisfied with the outcome.
“I think my membership is happy,” he said. “Any offer that was made I would have presented to them and they would have given me the go-ahead to accept or reject.
“And I think the fact that they accepted it, everybody is satisfied with what we got.
“I mean, personally, I always think we could get more. But the membership is happy, that’s what’s important.”
Rolle said NIB is also pleased with the conclusion.
“We knew it would happen [and] we’re pleased that it has concluded,” she said.
“The board always works in good faith to ensure a conclusion and we had to do one, which was prudent and in the best interests of everyone, really – all of our stakeholders, our employees and, of course, the national insurance fund and the public who depend on our services as well.”
According to Rolle, the document will be made public once it has been registered at the Department of Labour.