By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE union representing line staff at Morton Salt yesterday said it has been “pushed” to take strike action after the company made no improvements to its purported counter-offer.
Jennifer Brown president of the Bahamas Industrial, Manufacturers & Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU), told Tribune Business that the union - which represents around 100 line staff at Inagua’s largest employer - was “very disappointed” by the salt harvester’s stance.
She told Tribune Business: “They have sent us a counter proposal but there are no changes in it. It’s the same thing as the last one. It’s the same figures. It doesn’t make sense negotiating with these figures. There is no movement. We’re very disappointed, and it looks like they have pushed us to have to use our strike certificate. We waited and waited, but it looks like we have no choice now. Action has to be taken.”
The threat of industrial unrest has loomed over Morton Salt’s Inagua operations since late last year, with the union saying it was “insulted” by the company’s original offer.
Ms Brown said Morton Salt is offering a wage increase of 1.5 percent in the first year,; 1.5 percent in the second; and 1.7 percent for the third year. She added that the company was also seeking to increase the medical and life insurance
Morton Salt spokesman, Paul Jackiewicz, said in a previous statement: “Morton Bahamas has actively participated in negotiations with the Bahamas Industrial, Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union since February (2018) in an effort to reach a long-term labour agreement for our Inagua salt production site.
“We’ve continued to have productive conversations with the union, and the parties met in Nassau earlier this week to negotiate in good faith in the interest of a fair and amicable agreement for all involved.”
He added: “The company’s offer includes wage increases in each year of the proposed agreement, and updates to the company’s healthcare benefits. We believe the offer is fair and provides for both operational and employee needs in order to preserve good jobs in Inagua.” Morton Salt is a subsidiary of K+S, a German company.