By EARYEL BOWLEG
NATIONAL Insurance Board workers will have a new industrial agreement by the end of this month, according to Union of Public Officers President Ghion Roach.
After several protests this year, the UPO president revealed this week that the union and NIB management went back to the table and hashed out all the outstanding issues, in particular a standoff over promotions.
“There were no changes as far as the salaries went,” he said. “There were a couple (of) clauses that were related to promotions that the union and the management were able to come to an agreement on and outside of that we were good.
“The issue with promotion (was) there were some promotions that were based on tenure combined with performance and I think the point of contention was management felt the requirements were a little too low but like I said we sat down, we worked through it, and we came to an agreement on it.
“Your promotion is based on your performance and I think it was ….. above standard or something similar to that.
“This was offered to the (union) members before we went back into negotiations….they were fine. They didn’t have any contention amongst the body at all.”
The union and NIB have been at odds for several months over stalled negotiations for the outstanding agreement, which expired last December.
Currently, the union is waiting for the go ahead from NIB and Public Service Minister Brensil Rolle. Mr Roach said he did get in contact with Mr Rolle three days ago but only briefly by phone.
Prior to the phone call, Mr Roach said he was unable to get in contact with Mr Rolle since the two last met on November 8 to try and meet the November 30 deadline set by the minister to discuss the outstanding industrial agreement. Yet, with the deadline fast approaching and no resolution, the union decided to protest towards the end of November.
Mr Rolle told reporters earlier this month the protests were politically motivated and would not ensure an agreement.
He said previously: “We negotiate in good faith, gave them a commitment, they did (not live up) to their part of the deal now it’s back to me. I don’t know how that’s possible in the Bahamian context. They protested three days before so if we had a deal for a certain date and a certain time and you go out and protest then that means you have another motive and I can’t measure your motives and I suspect those motives can’t be professional, must be something other than professional.”
Nonetheless, Mr Roach has moved on from the situation.
He said: “I had not been in communication with (the) minister for quite some time prior to that and it was just at the boiling point.
“I don’t really know. I don’t know. I can’t say how he would feel. If it were me, it would cause me to get to the table faster.
“All of this stuff is kind of in the rear view. I understand a lot of the comments he would have made and why he would have made them but you know we’ve moved past it and both parties kind of turned it down a little bit. We sat down and we worked through it. Like I said we went back to the table and we got the agreement worked through and you know it’s just all of those official things we need to get done now, but we’re done.”