By CELESTE NIXON
Tribune Staff Reporter
TALKS over City Market employee pensions had to be postponed on Monday because the boss of the failed supermarket chain was stranded in Florida thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac.
Speaking outside Cabinet yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie said the meeting with Trans-Island Traders head Mark Finlayson will now have to be rescheduled.
However, Mr Christie said he is still hopeful the meeting will take place some time this week, and gave assurances the discussions about outstanding severance packages will also resume.
He said: “He was delayed in the United States so that meeting has been postponed. That is a necessary meeting for us to be able to report back to the representatives that we met as to the status of the pension fund and the position of Mr Finaylson.
“I am hoping that the delay is only a matter of days that he and I will meet this week, we were scheduled to meet with the Minister of Labour and representatives of the Ministry of Labour, the office of the Prime Minister and Mr Finaylson and his representatives, so we expect that to take place later that week.”
Last week, following initial talks with Mr Christie, City Markets employee spokesman Whanslaw Turnquest said a resolution to their nearly six-month severance package battle is now “in sight”.
While not going into detail, Mr Turnquest said the 165 employees in New Providence, whose lives have been in limbo since March 30 when City Markets collapsed, are optimistic that compensation would soon arrive.
Mr Turnquest said: “The matter is moving close to completion.
“We did meet with the Prime Minister and he has said that the wants to again meet with us next week.
“He assured us that he would conduct his own research and that he will be resolving this matter. He seems like he’s on top of things.”
Concerns were raised about the pension fund’s security, just days after workers were told the financially struggling food chain would close and was in talks with a buyer.
Not long after, those employees were reassured by Mr Finlayson that the fund remained intact.
According to Mr Finlayson, a deal to sell the chain of stores to Super Value was finalised in April.