By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The union representing more than 100 Morton Salt line-staff yesterday blasted the year-long wait for a legal decision in the two sides’ dispute over overtime and a proposed base salary increase for workerst.
The Bahamas Industrial, Manufacturers & Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU) president, Jennifer Brown, said it was almost 12 months since the union presented oral submissions before the Industrial Tribunal opposing the company’s alleged definition of overtime and unilateral variation of the work week.
The BIMAWU, an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), is arguing that based on the Employment Act, working on a day-off and/or public holidays, entitles an employee to double time.
Morton Salt, though, has taken the position that it will only pay ‘time-and-a-half’. The company is Inagua’s largest employer, and its ultimate parent is K+S, a German company.
“It’s been more than three years now since the employees of Morton Bahamas have received a general increase,” said Ms Brown. “The company is trying to force the hands of the president and the secretary-general to sign an industrial agreement, an agreement that has not even been completed.”
She added: “The Bahamas Industrial Tribunal, we feel, is procrastinating with the matter of the union and Morton. We put a matter to them, and next month will be a full year before we have gotten any ruling on that.
“It’s a case that’s just a matter of law: If you get paid double time for working on your days off.”
Ms Brown said attempts to have Shane Gibson, minister of labour and national insurance, and the Labour Department intervene have been unsuccessful. She yesterday urged Prime Minister Perry Christie to deal with the matter.
Attempts to obtain comments from Morton Salt representatives proved unsuccessful up to press time yesterday.