BY JADE RUSSELL
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB) officials have called on the government to put an end to contractual work of employment, adding workers hired on a contract are being stripped of basic employment benefits.
Sherry Benjamin, vice president of the NCTUB, who also serves as the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union's (BCPOU) president, spoke to reporters on Friday. She said workers in contractual employment need to be regularised in organisations.
“We don't know where this creature came from with contractual staff,” Ms Benjamin said. “However, it's a creature that we're trying to stamp out because it doesn't benefit the workers in this country and it doesn't benefit the employers.”
“What is happening now is you have persons on these long-term contracts and they are not able to go to the bank to just simply borrow money to buy a car or to get a home. There is no future for those persons.”
The vice president noted contract work of employment has become a norm now, stressing the government needs to step in to address this matter.
“If you look at the Employment Act, a contract is supposed to be for a specific time period and a specific task. These people are doing work that regular employees do,” she said. “But yet they don't have the benefits of regular employees.”
Ms Benjamin said these workers urgently should be regularised to receive the benefits of a full-time employee.
Secretary General, Daniel Thompson, said employers often refuse to move workers from a contractual basis to permanence for the company's advantage. He said once a worker isn't permanent an employer can pay them less money, not offer pension, along with other benefits.
Additionally, the union has been ongoing with negations between the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Insitute (BTVI) for the signing of its first industrial agreement for its faculty members.
“We have been at this negotiation now for 10 months,” he said.
“On Tuesday of this week, we submitted the final draft after the negotiation process, and we are now waiting for BTVI to respond. And once they respond hopefully we can set a date to sign,” Mr Thompson said.
He added: "Though the government, on the one hand, advocates and supports good industrial relations. We find that many of these individual organisations have their own culture, their own mindset, and their own objectives.”
Mr Thompson said ideally the signing is expected to be done during Labour Week.