By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE union representing line workers at Morton Salt says it will today file a trade dispute against the company, with its president accusing the Inagua-based harvester of “tit for tat” tactics.
Jennifer Brown, president of the Bahamas Industrial, Manufacturers & Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU), told Tribune Business yesterday that the union - which represents around 100-line staff at Inagua’s largest employer – was disappointed by the company’s recent decision to employ part-time workers on the weekend shift.
“What has happened is they have made up a schedule of persons working on the weekend, and only part-timers working,” she said. “All of our regular workers are home. They didn’t even ask our workers if they wanted to work. It’s like a tit for tat thing. They’re upset they’re not getting the tonnage they usually get, but what they expect if our workers are disgruntled?
“We will be filing a trade dispute on that,” she added. “They claim they are working on a counter-proposal. It’s been two weeks’ now. We have been negotiating for over a year. We are not signing for a 1.5 per cent wage increase. That’s an insult. I don’t care what kind of pressure they apply, we’re not accepting that.”
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 industrial agreement offer. Attempts to obtain a comment from Morton Salt were unsuccessful up to press time.
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 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.