0

Sacked Baic Staff: We Thought Our Roles Were Permanent

A photo sent to The Tribune of the employment offer from one of the workers let go from BAIC earlier this week. Some of the workers claim they were hired with the promise of full time employment and were shocked to be let go from the government agency.

A photo sent to The Tribune of the employment offer from one of the workers let go from BAIC earlier this week. Some of the workers claim they were hired with the promise of full time employment and were shocked to be let go from the government agency.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A 41-year-old mother of ten is wondering how she will take care of her six school-aged children now that she has been let go from the Bahamas Agriculture & Industrial Corporation.

She is one of the 15 workers  sent home from the corporation on Monday.

“I didn’t work for three years before I got that job in May,” the mother, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday. “I thought things were finally coming together for me, but now look; it’s hard with no help.”

She’s not alone. A father of six who left his job at Atlantis in May seeking the favourable benefits government employees receive told The Tribune he’s wondering about the life he will provide for his nearly two-year-old daughter and her siblings after he too was fired on Monday.

“I applied for that job three times and I took it only after the human resources representative assured me it was a permanent job, and now look at the position they’ve put me in,” the father, who also did not want to be named, said.

The fired workers were hired in May. The father of six said he was hired one week before the election and the mother of ten said she was told on May 8 that she would get the job. The Tribune saw at least one other contract for a fired worker that was signed on May 9 – the day before the general election. 

As the Minnis administration embraces a conservative approach to public sector hiring – placing a freeze on new hires - the experiences of the fired employees highlight the no-win situation the administration faces as it tries to curb expenditure in part by undoing the public sector excesses that characterised the Christie administration’s tenure. 

An official in the Minnis administration said the workers were let go after their three-month contract ended. The source said the employees were brought on ahead of the May 10 general election and seen as Progressive Liberal Party “operatives.”

However, a contract of a fired worker seen by The Tribune showed no three-month limitation on his work. And others who spoke to this newspaper denied their period of work was only for three months. The contract this newspaper saw said the appointment was “subject to a probationary period of six months” and that “confirmation in appointment is based on satisfactory completion of the probation period.”

The father of six, who worked in the maintenance department at BAIC, also insisted he had no political ties to a party and was no “operative.”

He criticised the new chairman of BAIC, Miriam Emmanuel, for refusing to meet with the fired employees. He criticised the government for failing to help them secure a new job. 

“When I was accepted in May for the job I specifically asked them if it was a permanent job,” the father said. “They told me ‘yes’ and that’s the only reason I left Atlantis. I would not have accepted it if it were a short-term job or a contract job. Since that’s what they told me, the least they could’ve done if they were going to fire me was put in a word with Atlantis to help me get that job back.”

The father of six doesn’t buy the argument that expenditure cuts in an era when the country faces costly credit downgrades are so necessary that the government has to let people like him go.

“If you saying there needs to be cuts, you should be looking at the people who on pension and still on the payroll,” he said. “If you on pension, still employed, that’s double dipping. They should start their cuts with them, not with innocent ones like me who trying to make it through.” 

The Minnis administration has pledged to counter the practice of rehiring pensioners. The status of its efforts to do this is not clear. 

The fired workers told The Tribune that since being hired they were paid for the first time Monday when they received a cheque along with a letter informing them that their services are no longer necessary.

“We were working like everybody else, going into the field like everyone else so they can’t say they didn’t need the bodies,” the father said. He said he made several failed attempts in recent weeks to meet Attorney General Carl Bethel after the general manager of BAIC told them higher powers would decide on their employment future. 

“My family of six in my house,” he said. “All my children underage. One is 22 months old. One is seven, one nine, one 13, one 15. I was living off my saving funds for four months because they weren’t paying me. My wife don’t work. This the position they put me in where I have to now jump on every part time job to maintain my family.” 

As for the mother of ten, the Marathon resident admitted she was a major, vocal supporter of the Progressive Liberal Party and she suggested she got her job through help from former BAIC Chairman Dion Smith.

However, she said: “I didn’t think when I got the job that if the FNM came in I would lose it. Whether it’s FNM or PLP, we all lose if people don’t have work.”

She said two of her children are working, but both have families of their own to sustain. “I still don’t know which way to turn,” she said. 

She added: “They gave us no notice that we were being fired. No one even came to say they appreciated the work we did. And what’s so bad is they gave us the letter at 4pm and had security guards in the room like we were some kind of threat.”

Comments

proudloudandfnm 3 months, 1 week ago

Simple. The next time a PLP offers you a job for your vote walk away. Now you know it won't be permanent. The PLP screwed you...

5

yari 3 months, 1 week ago

Who leaves an Atlantis job?

3

baldbeardedbahamian 3 months, 1 week ago

Who? Someone who wants to be employed by the state that will never fire them, not work them too hard, and give then a fat juicy pension. Who wouldn't?

4

jackbnimble 3 months, 1 week ago

41 years old with 10 children?!! Sorry but having trouble getting past that.....

5

banker 3 months, 1 week ago

I am having trouble getting over that as well. Don't people manage their lives? Where is the husband? Where is the child support money? How do you bring a child into this world without insuring that you have the finances to do so? Wow.

3

becks 3 months, 1 week ago

Have these people never heard of condoms? The pill? IUDs?

2

BahamasForBahamians 3 months, 1 week ago

The blame definitely falls on the PLP for not making these workers permanent.

The incoming government, though, however should tread carefully with its general election popularity.

Everyday I read the headlines it appear there is a slow change of tide with the Minnis administration.

Once the few arrests that have yet to have a trial started have blown over, its like like the real FNM start to slowly but surely leak out.. BOB flip flop, Bahamar flip flop, VAT repeal flip flop..

Careful there.

0

jackbnimble 3 months, 1 week ago

Think the whole idea was to give them temporary jobs for votes. How else do you explain how approximately 1,700 workers are added to the payroll just before election but mysteriously couldn't be employed in the 5 years that the PLP was in power.

I understand that the whole idea was give them jobs until after election and they would have been let go anyhow. The PLP just wanted to get back in.

2

licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

That's no letter from the government. . .it says "the cooperation" hired you as etc. The cooperation cannot hire nobody to a permanent position in the public services. They get swing. . .I guess if the PLP did win the last election nobody would have been the wiser. . .slipped them right into the door. . .after their temp period had expired!! Slick. . .liars!

Government probation is one year. . .1st year vacation is 4 weeks and sick leave per year is 28 days!! Further more. . .the letter sender may be trying to swing us too! In public service communication letter heads are most important. . .so important that with no letter head on a letter purported to be sent by a government department. . .no company in this nation will entertain any request for services. . .he seem to be hiding the letter head. . .which will tell you just where the letter came from!

0

DDK 3 months, 1 week ago

Did you get a load of the health insurance benefits? Is that sick leave standard for civil servants? Wow!

0

PastorTroy 3 months, 1 week ago

41 years old with ((TEN)) CHILDREN??????

1

ThisIsOurs 3 months, 1 week ago

Outside of infertility issues, it's easy to get pregnant. Some persons never developed the ability to make wise decisions. And even those who do can make dumb ones. At 41 it's probably a blessing that she doesn't have 15-20 children. As Sammy Starr would say, she is who she is so what we gone do? Meaning she can't put the children back, there are more like her and more coming up like her, so what we gone do? I'd say education has to find a way to link choices in school to life after school. Have an idea that I believe would help...

1

Sickened 3 months, 1 week ago

Ten children; six children? I ain't reading the rest.

1

Sickened 3 months, 1 week ago

What is that 'scale' calculation all about? $10,400 X 500 - 22,600 that equals $5,177,400 - WTF!

0

licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

That's public pay scales recording and it says starts at $10,400 x 500 yearly increments that terminates at $22,600 if there are no promotions within 7 years!

0

Gotoutintime 3 months, 1 week ago

Maybe this Lady should try and get some assistance from the Father (Fathers) of her ten children. Maybe it's time they stepped up??

3

ThisIsOurs 3 months, 1 week ago

Wishful thinking, rightful thinking, but wishful.

More than likely the fathers have no money to help, and no skills to get enough money to help. The most that could be done to them is to throw them in jail which I'm not convinced helps anyone. I'd say the children are the ones to focus on, the only way the children get out of this is through education.

Her plight is probably multiplied a thousand times over

There's 20 million being allotted to "constituency work", might as well have left the Urban Renewal line item in place for as much thought as went into that. I HOPE the larger part of that money isn't going to fix things that will need refixing in another year. But I'm almost certain they will give it to a few men to pull weeds and hack up the grass. I'd pay for some people to get some skills over and above being a waiter. Skills that will earn them a living wage. For example, rather sending people to weed, let them go through landscaping courses teaching how to properly maintain landscapes. There's a shanty town problem. Get some young men involved in constructing small cheap hurricane resistant homes, train them properly so when it's done they can move to bigger projects.

Each mp needs to know who is in their constituency, who needs help, and what kind of help they need, I said this from May 11th. I'm disappointed it hasn't happened. Then and ONLY then can they say that 20 million is going toward programs that the constituency needs. What age groups do you have, are they reading? Are they remedial? Are they working? What skills do they have, what skills does the country need, what skills can be taught in the short /long term? It takes thought but no one is thinking, just creating a lot of theatre marching people to court to distract from not having any plans.

2

ThisIsOurs 3 months, 1 week ago

Oh and after they're done with that landscaping course give them a project to convert a pilot area into a green space, something that looks like the cable beach strip, right in their community. And not the basketball park or the roundabout, they are relatively ok. Pick a spot that has high visibility but is in desperate need of transformation, make it look like a paradise. That's their project, every constituency. They can even partner with the construction students on that.

1

DDK 3 months, 1 week ago

IF that was in fact a legal contract between a Bahamas Government Corporation and a BAHAMIAN employee, and that contract is so easily broken, what about the contract between the Bahamas Government BEC/BPL Corporation and a FOREIGN firm? Let's break that one too. TRIBUNE, why not publish the BAIC contract in its entirety (AND the one between PLP and Power Secure)?

0

Sign in to comment