NIB workers vote to strike, again

More than 200 National Insurance Board (NIB) workers voted to strike on Friday.

Director of Labour John Pinder was unable to provide a breakdown of the votes yesterday.

However, he said that 98 percent of workers, who are members of the Union of Public Officers (UPO), voted in favor of a strike.

UPO President Ghion Roach said 229 members voted in favor of a strike and one voted against.

He said the union was still awaiting votes from the Family Islands.

Line-staff at NIB are peeved over delayed negotiations for their industrial agreement, which expired last December.

This has caused two walkouts in recent weeks.

Last week, the UPO members went on work to rule after Pinder declared a previous strike vote invalid.

The Supreme Court overturned Pinder’s decision and the parties agreed to hold another vote.

In response, Minister of Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle said, “If workers are on work to rule, that’s all we require them to do. We want them to do what their jobs require them to do.”

On October 27, NIB called for a de-escalation of the matter “in order to seek an amicable solution which does not include the interruption of pension and other benefit payments to Bahamians and residents who rely on NIB”.

It added: “While typical agreements in The Bahamas have ranged between six and 10 percent in salary increases over a five-year period, demands made upon NIB by the union have been calculated to be in excess of 20 percent for the five-year contract.”

NIB has insisted that it is operating in good faith.

But Roach shot that down yesterday.

“Staff are fed up,” he said.

“Our industrial agreement, we’ve been trying to get a new one negotiated but the board refuses to negotiate in good faith so that’s what got us to this point.

“We’ve been trying to get them to come back to the table since July and we haven’t gotten anywhere with our attempts. So, that’s what led us to apply for a strike poll.”

Roach said the union will use all tools at its disposal “to better foster a good industrial relationship with the board”.

JUMPLINE: Previous strike vote ended up in court

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