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Btc Vsep Offer 'Better, But Not What We Wanted'

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Telecommunications Company's (BTC) management union president yesterday said the carrier's voluntary separation offer was "better but not what we were seeking".

Ricardo Thompson, head of the Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union (BCPMU), told Tribune Business that the union was "pretty much staying out of" the VSEP exercise and will "wait and see" how it plays out given that managers remain ''tight lipped'' on their plans.

"What has happened so far is we have been negotiating, or seeking to negotiate, what we consider a worthwhile package because the VSEP package on the table would have been one used for the last several years when they would have resorted to that," Mr Thompson said.

"The numbers that they are offering is not what we were seeking. It's better than what was offered before, but not what we were hoping to have on the table. We said based on the economic situation in the country we can't let our members go home with anything less than 'x' amount of years' pay.

"Again, because it's voluntary, we have no control over it. They came up with a package they thought was suitable and put it out. It's up to the members to talk to their families and see if they think it's something they can live with. It's covering, I think, age 45-60," he added.

"They have four different categories thereabout. Some people might want to change career and move on. We are pretty much staying out of that part of it and waiting to see where it goes and do whatever we need to do afterwards."

BTC's chief executive, Garfield "Garry" Sinclair, earlier this week said the company has put a "compelling" voluntary separation offer on the table for staff wishing to exit the company.

Speaking on the sidelines of an education conclave, he said that once the voluntary separation exercise "is behind us" the carrier will be poised for "real rapid growth".

Mr Thompson told Tribune Business: "The managers, in particular, are pretty much quiet on this. I reached out to the other union and they seem more vocal. We can't get a count, and BTC wont give us a count. We don't know how it's going. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. Our managers are very tight-lipped. I guess they are working it out privately."

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