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Union Chief Claims Bpl Hired 50 Foreign Workers

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Electrical Workers Union President Paul Maynard claimed yesterday that around 50 non-Bahamians were set to be brought on at Bahamas Power and Light in the aftermath of 314 workers receiving voluntary separation packages.

Expressing his anger at the situation, he told The Tribune he has told his members that if anything happens to one foreign worker who recently showed up at the company, they should "leave him on the ground dead" as a sign of the strongest form of rejection to officials hiring non-Bahamians at the power provider to do jobs Bahamians are equipped to do.

The main point of contention on the matter, he said, is there has been no union consultation.

According to the union leader, the first of the group of foreign workers showed up to BPL yesterday morning and instructions were reportedly given to Bahamian workers to train the new additions. This is the result of a management services agreement the company has with Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC), a global diesel engine producer, he explained.

Should it not be rectified, Mr Maynard threatened industrial action. He said the union would not sit idly by allowing foreigners to "rape" the company and by extension the country.

"A foreigner showed up this morning (Monday) telling my manager in stores he got to train this Indian or wherever he from," the union chief told The Tribune yesterday.

"I want to know how it is that immigration (is) letting Indians in this country to do stores, work a Bahamian could do. I don't understand what is going on. BWSC has never given this company value for money, never ever. They never trained our people properly. They trained them halfheartedly," he alleged. "I don't know what they are there for.

"They say they hired them because of the management services agreement. But that can't be right. If the people didn't like the way the government gave Power Secure a management services agreement, how the hell you gonna bring someone (else) there (when) you get rid of Power Secure saying that a management services agreement was a waste of money?

"Now you gonna bring in a company that has never given this country value for money and give them a management services agreement too? Our people can't fix the engines? Bahamians can do the jobs."

Mr Maynard further suggested BPL management was to blame for inefficiencies at the company because of the high volume of employees allowed to take VSEPs.

"You let my people go and talking about these people coming to an agreement? My thing is I told the CEO that what he needs to do is whenever anybody comes into this company, he needs to identify someone right away from our union or from management and have them shadow so that knowledge could be transferred. Everybody raping this country," he added.

Asked whether the union was considering industrial action, he said: "Well duh…because you never talked to me about it. How the hell this. . . idiot could just come in here and tell my man he got to train this damn foreigner? He don't give us no orders and we ain't taking none from them.

"Oh no they they haven't (spoken to us) and this is my point of contention, you need to communicate what the hell you doing.

"Because I can tell you, I tell you right now, if something happen to him, I tell my people leave him on the ground, dead, we ain't picking him up. If we could save him we ain't saving him," Mr Maynard said.

However BPL CEO Whitney Heastie last night told The Tribune the union's concerns were wide of the mark.

All that is happening, he said, was that six or seven employees of the Danish firm BWSC - which has worked with BPL for a number of years - have been drafted in to help with two issues at the Clifton Pier plant.

The first issue relates to cataloguing thousands of engine parts stored at the plant which, over the years, have been stored under a variety of names.

"At the moment you can look for something but if you don't know all the names it could have been held under you'll never find it," said Mr Heastie.

"The individuals we've taken on are all marine engineers, specialists not manual labourers, who will get these valuable parts into the sort of catalogue which actually works.

"At the same time they will be working alongside Bahamian employees passing on their knowledge on the operation and maintenance of the engines at Clifton.

"As everyone knows Clifton has never worked as it was designed to do. These two measures will go a long way to improving matters.

"The union really has nothing to worry about here. Improving the service we provide for BPL's customers is our priority and these measures will help do that."

This is the latest point of contention at BPL since its entire board resigned last month, which blew the top off of the plethora of issues taking place behind the scenes.

After the resignations, Works Minister Desmond Bannister said the former board constantly bucked heads over key decisions to the detriment of the company. Mr Bannister, who has responsibility for BPL, has laid the blame for dysfunction at the former board squarely at the feet of its ex-chair, Darnell Osborne. She and two other board members have strenuously rebutted his claims and shot back with their own accusations.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis later said he ordered a formal investigation into the saga.

Later, when the new board was appointed, it came to light Mr Moxey had previously lobbied the company seeking an agreement for the use of his company's payment app MobileAssist.

And while his company CBI Mobile does not presently have a contract with BPL, Mr Moxey soon found himself the subject of public backlash after saying he saw nothing wrong with the company being awarded a contract in the future so long as he recused himself from the discussions and final decisions.

But this was put to rest after Mr Bannister said last week CBI Mobile would not be awarded any contracts as long as its owner was chairman of BPL's board.

Comments

themessenger 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Maynard needs to shut up and sit small! One of the reasons BEC/BPL is in such dire straits is because of his union which has treated the Corporation as their personal cash cow since time. His tune never varies, gimme what I want or ga turn ya current off and shut down the corporation. Get a frikkin life! Ain nobody let your people go, they all saw a wonderful opportunity to grab the money and run so who raping who? It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see half of those who took the separation package rehired shortly, shades of BTC. As for the union "training" anyone, what would you train them to do, throw chains over power lines and sabotage cables? These people are from the same organization that installed the engines at Clifton which you and your "well qualified" bruddas have let go to crap from lack of proper maintenance. Ever since dem union boys drop all dat cut ass on you all dem years ago you bin singing in their choir but ya'll ain know how outta tune ya'll really is.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Totally agree, he had nothing to say when Pam Hill was getting paid and BEC was falling apart, he said "she gives me everything I ask for". He had no problem with everyone getting lucrative VSEPs he said "as long as they happy". He could have made all the noise about proper staffing before they left. I believe it was all a scam him thinking they gonna have to bring these same people back and pay them twice cause no one else could do the work.

As to the Dutch team. Thats curious too. Isn't shell a Dutch firm? How did this team get here so quickly? Was this all planned? That VSEP exercise happened at the speed of light.

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hrysippus 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Thisnotours is so full of lies that they spill out. Dutch Firm? Where did that comment come from? Danish maybe but not Dutch. Stupid post.

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sealice 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Of course he's a crook - every single other bahamian union leader only did it as a stepping stone into politics (read more money) but for some reason he has stayed on as leader.... he's an idiot that don't care about anyone but himself so you know's he's getting paid and paid again

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bogart 2 weeks, 5 days ago

...6th para down the Union leader refrs to an "Indian worker or wherever he from"......perhaps the worker might be a descendent of the Taino or Lucayan or Arawak or Carib indians who lived in the Bahamas......a few Bahamians actually claim these indoans as ancestors..Speaker of the House dis mention someone....a lawyer was mentioned also .....

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bogart 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Ooops....how could I forgets our Seminole indian cousins who lived in North Amdros.....

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rawbahamian 2 weeks, 5 days ago

If the union members could just see that all their union leader is interested in is his union fees and how the foreign workers are cutting into that and how many thousands his account is gonna suffer from the 300+ workers took the package and left. He doesn't give a shit if the members live or die, just make sure the weekly do nothing for you fees comes in !!!

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hrysippus 2 weeks, 5 days ago

So if I understand this correctly, 50 foreigners were hired to do the work that 314 Bahamians were doing before BPL bought them out with generous retirement packages. NI can see now why Mr. Charles Maynard id so upset, what if this trend continues? What if the corporation turns into an efficient ell run and not overstaffed organization? What would happen to the civil service after that?

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B_I_D___ 2 weeks, 5 days ago

"if anything happens to one foreign worker who recently showed up at the company, they should "leave him on the ground dead""

How is this even acceptable rhetoric? Comments like this, and many others that he has made in the past should get him fired.

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sealice 2 weeks, 4 days ago

so much for a good christian upbringing....

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realfreethinker 2 weeks, 5 days ago

This Maynard man is so uncouth. For the 30 years his union fooked up bec/bpl now that the company has hired real workers " his people" can do the job? So why didn't y'all do it when y'all had the chance. This another ass that needs to vanish.

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Socrates 2 weeks, 5 days ago

you cant serve two masters. Management is tasked with managing a company. Unions come along, and they want to do the same thing. How the hell is that supposed to work? One of the many dysfunctional aspects of the bahamas work scene is workers dont understand that their purpose is, i) show up, ii) do your job (if you know how) and iii) go home when time is finished. Rank and file staff are not consultants and are not employed to give management advice or directives.

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DWW 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Unions ruined this country. Would mr. Maynard like to talk about the 7 men I saw working just last week. 7 men and 2 trucks to cut a few shrubs away from a power line. It took them 5 hours to do something I could have done on my own in 4 hours if only I had the magic switch to cut the power. Let's talk about that. We don't need to talk about removing the low oil sensor from the big genny cause she making too much noise.

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Mr: Maynard has a right to speak, Unions may go to far sometimes. But Unions came out of bad treatment by employees.

It is the peoples time. The majority of those who voted, voted for the FNM. What ever they do is well done. The majority put their trust in doc. so go ahead doc do as you like and act as you please..

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themessenger 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Birdie, stick with the guano business its what you're best at. While you're at it you might want enter into a contract with Maynard to provide BS to sell with your product.

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