By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union continued its verbal assault on BTC’s leadership yesterday, this time attacking the credibility of CEO Garry Sinclair.
After filing a trade dispute against BTC, BCPOU president, Dino Rolle, said in a statement: “The truth is a foreign concept to CEO Garry Sinclair.
“Unlike what was conveyed, Mr Sinclair has yet to complete the negotiations with the unions relative to the VSEP packages being offered and, more seriously, we have not signed any industrial agreement with BTC.”
The BCPOU filed a trade dispute arguing that BTC failed to negotiate in good faith on proposed voluntary separation packages (VSEP).
Mr Rolle said: “On Friday, July 19, Mr Sinclair emailed me and very pointedly stated in his email that he is ‘respectfully concluding our consultative discussions’ and he will be moving ahead with the launch of the VSEP programme at BTC in the coming days. You can’t get clearer than that. Unfortunately, it seems as though Mr Sinclair was attempting to deter the unions and had hoped that we would have gone away quietly and forfeited the rights of our members. Now he’s stating in the dailies this week that BTC is only in the ‘planning phase’ of its VSEP programme.”
Mr Sinclair told Tribune Business this week that BTC is readying another round of VSEPs to help cope with increasing competition. He said no forced redundancies will be involved and added that the new VSEP packages will be more generous than previous offerings.
Nonetheless, Mr Rolle said: “Our only aim is to ensure that our members are treated fairly and offered equitable packages commensurate with their years of service. Additionally, we have to be very deliberate with our actions to ensure that the VSEP packages are designed appropriately primarily because pensionable individuals accepting the packages will be transitioning a financial burden to the already multi-million dollar mounting debt of the public purse—subsequently the Bahamian people.
“This is an unfortunate position which carelessly came about under the terms of the BTC sale to CWC. I find the actions of the BTC CEO, Mr Sinclair, to be most disingenuous. You can’t treat the staff with disdain, call them inefficient and ‘dead wood’ behind closed doors and call for unity in the public face. Staff can’t be efficient when they are not provided with the tools to perform their job functions. This business has not made any major capital investments in BTC for almost five years.
“As a part of the shareholders agreement, CWC (Cable and Wireless Communications) is paid a two percent management fee to manage BTC. They need to do their jobs. It’s appalling that all advanced level activities for the technical departments, namely IT and engineering have been outsourced to Miami. Local technicians must also rely and coordinate with external persons from Barbados, Jamaica and Curacao to offer simple services to our customers. This isn’t globalisation. This is CWC’s clever way of reducing costs and removing jobs from Bahamians,” Mr Rolle said.