0

Warning of 'uproar' if BEC stops double dipping

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Electrical Workers Union has turned up the heat on its threat to take legal and industrial action against the government, union president Stephano Greene told The Tribune yesterday.

His comments came after the union had completed its conciliation talks with the government at the Ministry of Labour’s headquarters on Thompson Boulevard. Mr Greene described the effort as “fruitless.”

He said the union will continue to protest against BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller’s decision to discontinue the practice of allowing unionists to collect sick benefits from NIB in addition to their full salary for the period that they are not on the job.

But before deciding

whether to take legal or industrial action against the government, Mr Greene said the union will give Prime Minister Perry Christie a chance to override Mr Miller’s decision.

“We are just waiting for the Prime Minister,” he said. “We should hear from him this week and if we don’t hear from him, we will go ahead and file to take a strike vote and we will seek legal action and take some industrial action, whether it’s work stoppage, go slow or work-to-rule, but some type of action will be taken. Two wrongs don’t make a right and always being wrong is not right and that is what Mr Miller is – always wrong.”

He added: “The employees are ready to withdraw their labour but we are trying to keep the bull in the pen, but we don’t know how long we can do that. The corporation hasn’t changed their position and neither has the union. The union has a legal right for our position and we aren’t changing it. We are far past those days when people are threatened with their jobs.“

In response to the union’s threat, Mr Miller said: “Please, go on strike. We have 200 people waiting in line to assist us. They will start at over $40,000.” He then said: “You will never see a strike––they have more sense than that.”

“If Mr Miller wants to fire us, he could fire us but then electricity would be off for months because Mr Miller can’t turn the power back on,” Mr Greene replied.

Comments

B_I_D___ 9 years, 2 months ago

Well what's good for the goose is good for the gander I guess...the precedent has been set, I shall advise all my employees that the double dip is a legal thing now and that they can all apply for NIB benefits, even though I have paid them their sick pay. Let's see how fast NIB comes chasing me down saying I can't do it!!

2

Josie 9 years, 2 months ago

Wow. How ridiculous to expect to get paid your salary and still collect NIB. Kinda like collecting NIB unemployment payments while you are working.

3

HolandObserver 9 years, 2 months ago

@Josie, I thought the same thing. I like your analogy.

0

TalRussell 9 years, 2 months ago

Comrades there is no such thing as being 90% honest over the way Bahamaland's tax dollars are spent. You're either 100% honest, or I have serous questions for you. While there is rightly lots of talk over the abuse of double dipping paychecks at BEC, the abuse is much broader. What about government appointees being paid out of the public treasury but also serving on other boards for payment. What about MP's who while collecting a public treasury salary are also collecting fees for serving on boards and committees? How many government appointed chairman's are collecting their public treasury and private corporation salaries? Is it OK for a chairman of any government corporation to be collecting a full salary as an MP from the public treasury, while collecting a paycheck from a government or private corporation? Should you be collecting a government pension and at the same time collecting another paycheck from the public treasury?

1

The_Oracle 9 years, 2 months ago

Unethical, Immoral, but foremost Ignorant of their responsibility as elected officials and Civil servants. Willful Ignorance, given a free pass by the People who elected them.

Their admission that this is happening is a public admission of fraud! Where is the A.G's office? Meanwhile, citizens avoid paying taxes because it is de rigueur. No wonder the IMF wants VAT, it is heavy on the auditing, of both personal and Business records, along the whole chain of transactions. Sweetheart deals, and special consideration is finished!

2

ThisIsOurs 9 years, 2 months ago

Stephano Greene has just threatened our infrastructure again. And he apparently expects the prime minister to back him up.

Put cameras at and around all key infrastructure, have regular maintenance checks to ensure the cameras are working, monitor access to all areas.

If the electricity is off for more than two weeks, I assume the govt will handle it like a natural disaster. They can import labour and expertise from other countries to assist. I would suspect that up time would take longer as workers learned the systems but it could be done, and at the end of it we would have electricity restored and a corporation staffed with persons who really want a job. I've worked long enough to know that NOONE, no matter how smart they think they are is indispensable. If you are seen as a liability to the company, they remove you, even in face of no immediate replacement or a less knowledgeable replacement.

I would hope that terror suspects are never again hired at another govt corporation. They would know better than to damage equipment at a private business.

4

xtreme2x 9 years, 2 months ago

If Mr Miller wants to fire us, he could fire us but then electricity would be off for months because Mr Miller can’t turn the power back on,” Mr Greene replied.

Are you serious Mr Greene? If that happen the police needs to pick you up and get some answers.

1

John 9 years, 2 months ago

Let the record show that Jennifer Issacs Dotson,Strong stands in favor of double dipping. And herein lies the problem with trade unions and union leaders; They do not necessarily support that which is right but they support that which is popular with their union membership. Jennifer (Mrs. Dotson) as a well educated person, and she knows that no ordinary company, large or small can support the instance of double dipping. But because this is what her union members want, she is ready to jump up and make a ruckus about it. When NIB came into existence, one of the selling points was that if employers made small regular contributions, (to be paid each month) they will not need to worry about the burden of their employees becoming sick, unemployed or unable to work. Businesses had a difficulty paying the contributions but it was in their best interest in the long run. However none greed to pay both the contributions and the benefits that BEC and government now pays. And if it is determined that it was wrong for the company to engage in such a practice, then it should be stopped forthwith, weather the policy is written in the company's agreement with its union or weather it is written on a bowling ball at the chairman's enterprise. Wrong is wrong and the quicker wrong is corrected, the quicker it is put right. This BEC white lightening, union horse has to be saddled and harnessed! Once and for all. Its run-a-way tactics and demands are costly and burdensome. They are generating unnecessary increases in cost of living for all Bahamians, and residents and visitors and businesses too. support Leslie Miller and do not let this horse break out the gate still untamed!

"The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome. When in the thirties the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society." Martin Luther King Jr. —Speech to the state convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Oct. 7, 1965

Life is better with unions.

B U T

Stand up for fairness

0

HolandObserver 9 years, 2 months ago

“If Mr Miller wants to fire us, he could fire us but then electricity would be off for months because Mr Miller can’t turn the power back on,” Mr Greene replied.

This is a bona fide threat.....

1

TheObjectiveVoice 9 years, 2 months ago

I think that Leslie Miller needs to start looking at the C.V.'s for those people who don't work at GB Power anymore. They might want to start working again. This is absolutely crazy for them to think that this is right and legal. No-one else in the country can get away with this. Now what Mr. Miller, needs to figure out is how in the world this happenedddd. Who was writing up those cheques, knowing fully that persons were out sick. Who authorized this? Go ahead Mr. Miller, tell us the truth and the whole truth. How did this happen?

1

ThisIsOurs 9 years, 2 months ago

You raise a good point, got me thinking, on the other side who was the union official who lobbied for this clearly unethical clause?

0

Puzzled 9 years, 2 months ago

None of this should be surprising. When you look at the history of the Bahamas and what shady history Bahamians been involved in in the past, it is almost impossible to expect 100% honesty in any dealings especially when you add add to that the entitlement promised by the "founder" and you have got what you see. As for security cameras, you all know full well that if there is some "suspicious activity" then the discs or memory will go missing from the cameras as happened at BTC when they had the major power loss and none of the back systems worked and there was no video data available to view!

1

countryfirst 9 years, 2 months ago

These unions are just sucking this country dry and they don't care they just want more and more and we get less and less.They know this is unethical and should be illegal, I am eager to hear what our spineless P.M. has to say.

0

realfreethinker 9 years, 2 months ago

Guys nothing is going to happen this not limited to BEC how many retired persons we have now working who is also collecting pension and full salary. they will have to change the whole gov. and public service to correct this problem

0

TalRussell 9 years, 2 months ago

Comrades refresh my memory. Has there been any individual(s) who was retired/defeated as an member of parliament who later returned to the House to double dipp his/her income from the public treasury? If so, should they be made to return such payments back to the public treasury? Right now the focus is in the news headlines over the BEC double dipping scandal, yet many Bahamalander's think the same about all the others who for years have been double dipping from the public treasury. It ain't enough to fix BEC and leave the big shot politicians and former government officials with their double dipping monies collected from the public treasury. If it is wrong at BEC, it is equally wrong for all the other double dippers.

0

John 9 years, 2 months ago

Do you know that certain powerful forces in the economic world had plans to drive the price of gas up to $11.00 a gallon in the United States and up to $13.00 a gallon in Canada and the Caribbean? Their plan was not only to control the fuel supply and grow even more filthier rich than they are now, but by controlling fuel prices they control who was able to drive as well as other economic activity in the world. One of those who opposed this cartel was Hugo Chavez and you know history was a short one. But for the time being the scam to drive up the price of oil seems to have hit a brick wall. Not only has the price of gas fallen below $5.00 in this country but the price may fall even lower. This is due to the weak world economy and the fact alternatate sources of energy are becoming available. Those who are sitting on stockpiles of billions of barrels of oil have hit the panic button. With the weak economy (man made recession) and other sources of fuel becoming available they feel the price of oil may go down instead of up. And if some super clean fuel is developed and becomes available in great supply and cheaper than gas then their supplies may become obsolete. If hog only knew the more greedier he is the quicker he will see the slaughter house...

0

B_I_D___ 9 years, 2 months ago

Rented a beautifully kitted out Ford Focus diesel in the UK...dang thing got nearly 90 MPG on the highway...and it was no slouch. Looking forward to the clean diesel fuel we are now importing to allow this type of vehicle into the Bahamas.

0

Stapedius 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree with most of the comments here. BEC has given poor service for years and the we the public have had to bear it without much recourse. It seems like no one wants to work in this country, but everyone wants benefits. As I said in response to the article a few weeks ago about the Police Union aka Police Staff Association we need to be careful how unions effect our economy. We have many uneducated rowdy union folk who do not understand collective bargaining and resolution. Every situation it appears must escalate into a public feud with strike action being threatened.

This Mr. Greene, is the worst union man I've seen in a while. He doesn't have much control of his mouth or his brain it seems. His verbal diarrhea is going to cost the union much headaches in negotiation. He has also now set the public against his cause and that is a no no my friend. If anything he should attempt to make a case with the public at your back. That would've been hard to do anyway with most Bahamians quite annoyed at these recent revelations of double dipping. But at least show some humility, common sense and respect for the public.

0

Sign in to comment