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Funds set to resolve airport dispute

Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper. Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper. Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM, Investments and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper says the government has approved funding to honour all agreed terms of an industrial agreement with Airport Authority employees.

Mr Cooper spoke after the group threatened to take industrial action this week to protest outstanding payments and unresolved workplace grievances.

 The issue has long been a bone of contention for airport staff, who said they are tired of waiting to have their problems resolved.

 “We were advised by the airport authority human resources director that the monies would have been paid in instalments over a six-month period. We have now been advised that they no longer have that money,” Bahamas Public Service Union president Kimsley Ferguson said during a press conference this week.

  Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Cooper said the workers’ concerns are being addressed and committed the Davis administration to living up to its obligations.

 “Let me say that the government takes labour relationships very seriously,” he said. “We consider ourselves a friend of labour and a friend of workers. There is an agreed industrial agreement between the airport authority and the unions.

 “The government will honour the commitments of the agreement. We find it concerning that this agreement has been in place since 2018 and we have already committed the funding for the payments due under the agreement.

“We’ve come a long way in this process over the period of nine months. We will continue to press forward and talking openly with the union and the Cabinet has approved the appropriate funding to honour the agreements with the union and the ministry of finance are working out the logistics.

 “I am satisfied that the government is doing all within its power to live up to the obligations laid out in the agreement.”

 Earlier this year, the ministry released a statement on workers’ outstanding pay concerns, saying the government had agreed to pay all money owed to Airport Authority employees over a six-month period starting in the March pay period.

 However, it is not clear why funds were not paid out.

 Asked when the government hoped to sign off on worker’s industrial agreement, Mr Cooper replied: “We don’t negotiate with unions in the media. We have an open dialogue with the trade union movement.

 “The executives of the Airport Authority has spoken directly with the president of the union on these matters and we anticipate that that dialogue will continue but what we will not do is get into details with the specifics in the public domain. I am satisfied that the government of The Bahamas has allocated and approved the funding and it’s a matter now between the Ministry of Finance and the Airport Authority.”

Comments

Maximilianotto 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Broke broke broke so simple.15% on government bonds says all.Talk is cheap.

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tribanon 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes indeed, talk is cheap. And no one talks more than Chester the Jester who likes to promise the world to every fool willing to believe he can deliver it to them. LOL

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Maximilianotto 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Don’t you believe in Our Lucaya $100 m sales proceeds and $300 M investment and 2000 jobs? September Countdown started long ago. Will be the New Day. Next investment delegation to Teheran? Kabul better.

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BMW 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Watch out NIB they coming for money!

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tribanon 4 months, 3 weeks ago

There are way too few cookies in that broken cookie-jar. LOL

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