NASSAU, Bahamas, Jun 29, CMC – Government has welcomed the new industrial agreement signed with the Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) saying it had taken into consideration the ongoing financial situation in the country.
Under the accord, 16,000 public servants will receive increased benefits as well lump sum increments retroactive to 2010.
Labour and National Insurance Minister Dr. Shane Gibson said that the agreement for the period 2010-13 had been negotiated in good faith given “the difficult financial position of the country at this time.
“And, I know it wasn’t an easy decision, based on speaking with the officials at BPSU, when they decided to forego any additional negotiations of benefits until after we begin to negotiate a new contract effective 2013.
“And so this contract basically only includes, in addition to all of the normal benefits that they would have received over the years, a lump sum payment equal to one year’s increment, they receive before the end of July, the end of next month,” said Gibson.
He said as of July 1, “persons receiving increments will receive one additional increment in their incremental month.
“As for those persons whose incremental month is July, they will be receiving a total of two increments, straight through until the end of June next year. For those who receive benefits in June will receive two increments instead of one in June of 2013.”
Gibson said he was appreciative of the BPSU for understanding and appreciating the country’s financial position, as well as for their patience in waiting for the global economy to improve the atmosphere of renegotiations in 2013.
“And I just want to personally thank the executives of the Bahamas Public Service Union for their understanding in terms of the conditions of the country at this time, a difficult time, in which we find ourselves financially.
“This is the first of many industrial agreements we have to execute and hopefully, between now and next year, we will be in a better position because I know it’s never easy, agreeing to industrial agreements, particularly when it’s not, or the agreement does not give you all that you would anticipate you should have. And so, I really want you to know we appreciate it and I know of course your members would appreciate it as well.”
Junior Finance Minister Michael Halkitis said he hoped 2013 will bring new opportunities for increased benefits to reward the valuable service that civil servants offer.
“We will work very hard to make sure that we, over the next few years, we put the country in the sort of fiscal position where we can look forward to increased benefits for your members. We need the membership of the Bahamas Public Services Union to assist us in that endeavour,” said Halkitis.
“Thank you for your understanding and your patience, as we got to this point, and we look forward to when we begin negotiations for the extension of the new agreement in 2013, that we’ll be in a much better position and members can look hopefully forward to increased reward for the valuable service they provide to the people of The Bahamas,” he added.