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Union Seeks Assurances On Previous Govt Deals

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A senior Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) executive yesterday admitted the union was concerned over potential job and benefit cuts, given the Government's pledge to slash spending by 10 per cent.

Kingsley Ferguson, the BPSU's executive vice-president, told Tribune Business that the union wanted assurances that the Minnis administration will honour previous agreements negotiated by the Christie administration.

"One of the main things that we are concerned about is maintaining jobs," he said. "We do understand, however, that the current level of employment is difficult to sustain.

"We really would like a commitment from this administration to honour current commitments, even if they are unable to address them at this time. We would like them to give us a timeframe when they will be making addendum to various agreements that exist."

Mr Ferguson told Tribune Business that the union was mindful of the Bahamas' fiscal position, and also concerned over another potential credit rating downgrade.

"We understand that the country has experienced a number of downgrades," he added. "The union is quite concerned about that, but we want an assurance that whatever previous agreement would have been agreed to by the previous administration will be honoured."

Mr Ferguson also warned the Government that there must be a sustained level of employment within the public sector to ensure it functions properly.

"We understand what the Government is trying to do. We anticipate that employees and their ability will be impacted one way or the other," he added. "We still need to ensure that they have the necessary tools to do their jobs.

"We also hope that the Government will honour their word and continue to regularise persons attached to the public service. We understand that the service has been inundated with new hires for political reasons. It really concerns us that the civil service has been flooded with political hires. What happens is it causes people to have hope, then they become despondent when they find themselves in a particular position for a long period of time without being regularised."

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