By NATARIO McKENZIE Tribune Business Reporter nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net RESTAURANTS (Bahamas), the Nassau franchise holder for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), and the union representing its 300-plus line staff are expected to meet today to fine tune a new industrial agreement. Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) vice-president, Darren Woods, told Tribune Business: "We are meeting to go through it and clean it up to try to have a date set to sign it. We are supposed to meet tomorrow [today] to start the process with that, and actually have it prepared and ready for signature." KFC (Nassau) reopened its nine restaurants two weeks ago after a tentative labour agreement was reached. Last month, tensions escalated after the fast food chain cancelled its voluntary recognition of the union. Following that announcement, staff staged a sit-down, leading to the closure of the company's New Providence outlets for 10 days. KFC said it was unwilling to pay its employees while its stores remained closed, claiming that the union had directed illegal industrial action, which had caused "serious financial harm" to KFC's business and its employees. Mr Woods said the union was looking into what legal avenues it could pursue over the issue. "Our legal team is dealing with that," Mr Woods told Tribune Business. The labour agreement between the two parties expired on September 24, 2011, and negotiations on a new agreement began in December. KFC argued that its current wage and benefits package is "two times higher than all other fast food brands". Under the new agreement, new employees will be hired under a lower salary scale than current employees, with a guaranteed work shift of at least four hours. KFC's contributions to its staff's pensions will also be reduced from six per cent to two per cent for four years.


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