Gov’t intervention call at GB Power

Grand Bahama Power Company headquarters.

Grand Bahama Power Company headquarters.


Tribune Business Editor


The Government was yesterday urged to intervene over several labour-related grievances involving Grand Bahama Power Company after a trade union leader threatened to seek a “further course of redress”.

Roscoe Burrows, the Commonwealth Electrical Workers Union’s (CEWU) president, did not specify what this would involve in a statement to Tribune Business as he cited three disputed terminations at Grand Bahama’s energy monopoly - the last of which occurred just over a week ago on October 6, 2022.

“Another member was wrongfully dismissed most recently on October 6, 2022, without cause or reason once again despite the previous cases being before the courts,” he asserted. The other two previous dismissals of union members occurred on November 27, 2020, and February 12, 2021, with the former currently before the Labour Board. 

Mr Burrows added that the second was being appealed by GB Power after the Labour Board ruled in the ex-worker’s favour on May 2, 2022. “In events leading up to dismissal, he had reached out to GB Power’s human resources concerning some irregularities he found in work operations,” Mr Burrows alleged.

“After receiving no resolution, he proceeded to use Emera’s hotline, which has been established for reporting code of conduct violations. It promises to be anonymous and protect employees from retaliation. Shortly after he would have been dismissed by his director, and the CEWU union responded by filing a dispute at the Labour Board for wrongful dismissal on his behalf.”

Suggesting that the employee dismissed on October 6, 2022, would have used the same hotline installed by GB Power’s 100 percent owner, the union chief added: “It seems Emera’s hotline is getting a little too hot for employees to manage.” 

GB Power, in a response to the union’s claims, confirmed that three labour disputes are presently before the Bahamian court system as it tried to strike a conciliatory tone. “Grand Bahama Power Company takes the concerns of our employees seriously as well as our obligations as their employer under the law,” it said.

“As we have demonstrated throughout the pandemic, and in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Matthew and Dorian, we remain committed to an open and productive working relationship with our staff and their trade unions. There are, however, occasions when our employees, or their trade unions, disagree with the decisions that we have made, for various reasons, and we are unable to resolve them without court intervention.

“Currently, there are three matters pending before the courts to determine disagreements between GB Power and the CEWU regarding recent decisions and actions in relation to members of CEWU. GB Power respects the court process and is of the view that the determination of those matters by the courts will bring clarity to a number, if not all of, the concerns expressed by CEWU on behalf of its members,” it continued.

“Management’s door remains open to continue to dialogue with CEWU and to address their members’ concerns while these matters are being determined, and we look forward to working with CEWU on these issues.”

Mr Burrows, meanwhile, indicated the union’s grievances extend beyond the three court disputes. “There also exists numerous counts of employees performing tasks well above and outside their roles with no compensation, no raises, no promotions, not to mention many employees have either no clear job descriptions or are just plain missing in the contract,” he alleged. 

“Meanwhile the company has successfully and quietly downsized from over 200 line staff down to almost half that in the past decade while executive promotions and hiring seem to be at an all-time high. With all the same equipment in place to maintain and operate, almost all departments are overworked, understaffed and under-compensated.

“With contract renegotiations looming in the near future, to prevent the union from taking any further course of redress we are calling on the Government to intervene and bring about swift, amenable resolves with Emera and its affiliate to make Grand Bahama Power bright again.”

Mr Burrows said other concerns included “safety” matters involving GB Power’s power line technicians, a customer service representative with no clear job title working above his pay scale for seven years, a store man stuck at the lowest pay grade for nine years despite training others, plus issues with control room operators and four technicians in instrument electrical and control.


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