By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
MORTON Salt yesterday branded its latest industrial offer to line-staff as “fair” and one that would “preserve jobs”, adding that it was prepared for any work stoppages at its Inagua plant.
The salt harvester, in a statement sent to Tribune Business, said it had been meeting with union representatives for almost a year in an effort to reach a new industrial agreement. It added that its latest offer “serves both operational and employee needs in order to preserve good jobs”.
“We’ve also worked together with a conciliator to help drive toward resolution. Unfortunately, the parties have not yet reached an agreement,” Morton Salt said.
“At Morton Bahamas, we’re committed to building productive working relationships with our employees and partners. We’ve put forth an offer that is fair and serves both operational and employee needs in order to preserve good jobs in Inagua.
“The Morton Bahamas offer, including its offers from the past week, provided for wage increases in each year of the proposed agreement as well as updates to the company’s healthcare benefits. In addition, we’re offering a larger production incentive that represents a substantial increase compared with the previous bonus structure when the site reaches agreed upon production targets.”
Jennifer Brown, the Bahamas Industrial, Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU) president, recently expressed disappointment with the company’s latest offer, which she described as no improvement over the previous submission.
She added that the union, which represents around 100 line staff, was being pushed to take strike action. Ms Brown recently alleged that workers at Morton Bahamas were being “discriminated against, with wages at other plants highly exceeding that of Inagua employees”.
To this, Morton Salt responded: “While pay varies across sites in our network, one of the most important things Morton Bahamas can do for its employees is to ensure that they have access to affordable and high-quality healthcare.
“Currently, we cover more than 90 percent of our employee healthcare costs, which is significantly more than what most other employees in the Bahamas - and in our broader network - receive in terms of coverage.”
As to the threat of a work stoppage or other forms of industrial action, Morton Salt added: “No one likes a work stoppage, but as the trusted authority on salt in North America with one of the largest production and distribution networks in the industry, Morton has the footprint and flexibility to continue delivering high-quality products to our customers and consumers.
“We have very solid supply plans in place that leverage the broader Morton network, giving us the flexibility to adjust our production and distribution processes as appropriate. Across all of the company’s facilities, we have well-defined contingency plans in place to sustain our operations in the event of a work stoppage.”