By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Insurance Board (NIB) workers have voted almost unanimously to take strike action.
Ghion Roach, the president of the workers’ union, the Union of Public Officers (UPO), said Friday’s ballot was overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.
In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Roach said the Nassau count was 229 voting “yes” with just one “no”. He added the count from the Family Islands should “trickle in over the next few days”.
He said: “The minister has agreed to restart negotiations this week, we will see where it goes from there. (If) things go left, we’ll be back at (protesting) again, but we will work with management for now.”
Last week, the employees of the NIB were on “work to rule” after their strike vote was deemed invalid.
Speaking to reporters previously, Mr Roach said Director of Labour John Pinder deemed the strike vote invalid because there were some technicalities with the application.
The first vote held was unanimous in favour of a strike.
He said at the time: “We have 406 members, 227 would have voted here in Nassau. We got 226 yes and one no. We got 27 yes in Freeport and three yes in Rock Sound, Eleuthera. We already obtained the majority of the vote based on the islands that did vote on Friday. “
Last Sunday, NIB called on the Union of Public Officers to de-escalate its issues to reach an amicable solution that won’t disrupt the pension and other benefit payments to residents who rely on NIB.
The agency said it will continue to cooperate in good faith with its staff union to assist the Ministry of the Public Service and National Insurance to conclude negotiations on a new industrial agreement in an environment where the board has to improve its efficiency targets and better manage administrative costs.
The statement came after a strike poll by employees was deemed invalid. At the time, Director of Labour John Pinder said there were some legal issues with the process.
Two weeks ago, NIB employees protested after negotiations for a new industrial agreement failed. Mr Roach said they walked off the job because the union wanted to send a message.