Houston Denies Thompson Was Fired Over Union Role


Tribune Staff Reporter


BAHAMAS Telecommunications Company CEO Geoff Houston denied claims yesterday that the company fired former senior manager Elizabeth Thompson because she became a union official.


Elizabeth Thompson.

Mrs Thompson, who was a senior manager in the legal department at BTC for almost five years, was terminated two weeks ago.

She also serves as the vice president of the Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union.

In a letter, she said, BTC told her: “After due and careful consideration, the company has decided that the continuance of your employment is not in the best interest of the company or 
consistent with the requirements of the company’s business.

“We therefore regret to inform you that the company has decided to sever your employment without cause with pay in lieu of notice...”

Mrs Thompson said the only reason she was fired was because she was recently elected Vice President of the BCPMU.

However, Mr Houston said her termination was a result of “ongoing issues”.

He said: “The only comment I will make on that is this is an issue which has been dating back to 2012 with this individual and it definitely predates CWC. There are a number of issues that led to the decision that was taken and so as I say we will leave it now for the Ministry of Labour and the Tribunal to see what happens.”

Despite numerous threats by several unions, including the BCPMU, Mr Houston said BTC has always had and continues to have a good working relationship with the union.

“I think we need to place this situation in its full context. We have worked hard with establishing good relationships with all our union partners. If you look back over the last 18 months, we put in place a voluntary separation programme which was done in full consultation with our union partners. As a consequence over 400 people left the business and 200 have either been reclassified or received a promotion. We also recruited about 145 Bahamians on top of that,” he said.

“We have worked through a lot of other issues with our union partners so I feel like we have built a very productive, strong, open and good working relationship with them and we are going to continue doing just that. We just wish that all parties abide by the existing industrial agreement and observe all the appropriate protocols as we work through the Elizabeth Thompson issue. The matter has been passed on to the Ministry of Labour, we have had one meeting with them and we are having another one this week. So I am just asking that everyone allows it to run its course and let the authorities deal with the issue.”

When asked if BTC intends to rehire Mrs Thomspon, Mr Houston said: “I am not going to try and speculate while we are in the middle of that process or reveal our position or put unnecessary pressure on the Ministry of Labour but I think we will see what happens at the end of it all.”


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