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BEC: Union expects layoffs with new management but will negotiate to 'benefit' public

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

LAYOFFS at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) are likely as incoming management intends to lower electricity costs dramatically, according to a union chief yesterday.

However, Paul Maynard, the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) president, explained that the union is prepared to negotiate in the best interest of its workers and the country.

"It probably will," he said, "we're waiting to see when they reveal their business plans. They are expected to present in two weeks and we'll come to the table and negotiate.I would prefer to be at the table negotiating instead of downtown demonstrating."

Mr Maynard said: "It's better to be inside negotiating than outside demonstrating, and the deal is still getting made so you're not going to stop the process. Once it's above board the union will support it. The government gave the mandate that they want the light bill cut by 50 per cent, and that benefits the Bahamian people. The decision has to benefit them.

"If it's a whole new economy, if you can cut that bill in half, once that is done I'll be the first person to support," he added. "If it isn't I'll be the first person crying foul."

Nearly two years since the government initially announced plans to restructure BEC, it was announced that American company PowerSecure International was selected as the new management company. In a statement on Thursday, it was revealed that PowerSecure received a five-year contract to oversee generation and transmission/distribution.

The Tribune understands the decision was made early this week but Prime Minister Perry Christie informed both BEC unions and executive management on Thursday morning.

The process is expected to lower electricity costs, increase energy security and reliability, and increase competitiveness as a country.

Yesterday, Mr Maynard said: "The Prime Minister said to me that he did not want a situation to happen where we have mass layoffs and get they package money and it's wasted. If layoffs are happening, he said that we would have to explain how it's going to benefit the worker and where they are going to go.

"If we decide that we want to give packages, I need to come with a business plan of how it's going to work and where they will work."

When contacted for comment yesterday, BEC Chairman Leslie Miller said he did not have any details on the agreement, and had not yet been briefed on the management company's plans for the future.

According to Tribune Business, it is understood that BEC will have a new board comprised of new directors, while plans to restructure its legacy debt and other liabilities will run in parallel to Power Secure’s work.

In response, Mr Miller said that he would accept whatever decision that was made regarding his position, adding that he was proud of what he and the board were able to accomplish during their tenure.

"We brought overtime down from $12m to $5.2m," he said.

"We stopped the double dipping with the entire public service, we did that. I am happy and proud of the record. Whatever decision they make I will be fine with it."

Comments

wave 7 years, 9 months ago

Of course this government contracted this out, they don't want this stink on their hands! Wonder if this company has the foresight to put a few clauses in to cover their butts when your PLP send in their hench men to muck up the company to get what they want?

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John 7 years, 9 months ago

What a difference a day makes. Can we believe there won't be a fight?

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watcher 7 years, 9 months ago

Today the union says that it understands the new team will have to lay off workers. Tomorrow, (after the sale) they will strike or hold the corporation to ransom and demand that the workers be reinstated. Same ole same ole....do they think we are idiots?

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SP 7 years, 9 months ago

........................................... Paul Maynard Is A Dumb Boomtard ....................................

If this two faced idiot had any sense he would have worked with Leslie Miller from the beginning to allow union member salaries to be sensibly restructured, and government wouldn't need to bring in a foreign management entity to slash jobs and run BEC like a REAL company.

PowerSecure will make staffing decisions based on "actual established operating requirements" to cause and efficiently run power company.

No more political favors, meddling, protecting of non productive or unqualified workers etc which means PowerSecure will cut all deadweight by firing non productive and non essential staff.

Union members have been screwed by the union who immediately broke off running with this announcement having now shifted into "self survival" mode by declaring "anything PowerSecure and government wants is just peachy and dandy with us".

Had Dumb Boomtard Maynard taken that very same approach with Leslie Miller from 2012 many Bahamian might be making less income but their jobs at BEC would have been secure instead of now being on the chopping block!

How will they replace even 50% of the salary they'er about to lose? Where will they go?

Jackass does as jackass is.

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duppyVAT 7 years, 9 months ago

The real smart guys here are Perry and Brave ..................... they know that Leslie and the BEC unions were at loggerheads ................ so the only way out is to turn BEC over to a foreign white management company ................. now BEC is just like BTC ........... when it doesnt work, blame the white guys................ and get a local Uncle Tom to chop off the union bosses heads ...................... we don't hear anything anymore from the BTC unions since the white boys took over ................... and the same is going to happen to BEC in the next 3 years.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 years, 9 months ago

Christie, Brave, etc. are not just looking for any white foreigners to run our mismanaged debt ridden utility enterprises.....they are looking for the ones who are willing to play ball in feathering the nests of our senior PLP politicians and their business cronies by way of sweetly structured deals that bleed off much of what should have gone or go to our Public Treasury!

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OMG 7 years, 9 months ago

Wow, PLP always spouted how the Bahamas was for Bahamians and to be run by Bahamians but interesting how they need foreigners when it suits them . Straw market burns down in Exuma -foreigners rush to the cash rescue. BEC total cockup-Have to call in foreigners. Teaching grade point average call in the Cubans.. Mind you one of the comments is so on the nail that this is a crafty political move because when everything goes wrong they have a scapegoat to blame. And 50% reduction in electricity costs-heard it before -will never happen.

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christee 7 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how much of the $6.8 miilion that they saved on overtime ended up in L.M. pocket?

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