[Bahamas] Ministry Seeks Meeting With ATC Union On Overtime

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[Bahamas] Ministry Seeks Meeting With ATC Union On Overtime

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Aug 04, 2015

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/aug ... llers-uni/

[Bahamas] Ministry Seeks Meeting With Air Traffic Controllers Union Amid Overtime Row
Monday, August 3, 2015
RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter

MINISTRY of Transport and Aviation officials have requested a meeting with members of the Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union, along with representatives from two other government departments with the object of brokering “fairness and industrial harmony” amidst continuing disputes about overtime pay.

This came after BATCU President Lashan Gray, alleging that workers in Freeport have not been paid overtime, said they would no longer work outside “normal” operating hours.

In response, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said it is seeking to arrive at “amicable settlements of dispute without unnecessary vitriol or confrontation.”

Last week, Mrs Gray said since the government took over the responsibility of Air Traffic Services from the Grand Bahama Airport Company, there have been many shortfalls, including the non-payment of overtime to those workers when they worked.

In response, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said that the Department of Civil Aviation and Department of Labour have both been asked to attend the meeting scheduled for today.

Officials said they are seeking to clarify points of outstanding concern as it relates to Freeport, Exuma and Eleuthera and discover where these matters can be resolved.

The ministry’s statement said: “The statement by the president of the Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union has been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.

“The ministry is advised that in accordance with General Orders, all controllers who worked overtime at the Freeport Airport over the last two years have been credited with days off for time worked, over and above regular work hours, and further that no objection or complaint was raised during the past two years in respect of this protocol,” the statement added.

BATCU executives have been advocating for these issues to be resolved for some time. Last September, BATCU filed an industrial dispute over this matter following a meeting with Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin.

At that time, Mrs Hanna Martin in part, acknowledged the legitimacy of the union’s concerns, citing it as one of many matters that had to be addressed as the Civil Aviation Department transitioned into an authority.

However, Mrs Gray has contended that there has been minimal transparency so far in this process. “Unfortunately, the Bahamas government continues in its outright abuse of these workers, following suit, as has been the case for over 25 years with other members of our bargaining unit members on the islands of Exuma and Eleuthera,” said Mrs Gray in a statement released August 1.

“Effective today (Saturday), Freeport air traffic controllers have decided they will no longer continue having their services exploited by their employer at their own risks and expense. There is an expectation that the other islands will follow, having to limit operations to hours between sunrise and sunset.”

The Ministry of Transport and Aviation on Saturday said it would put in place the necessary contingencies to assure that there would be no disruption in air traffic services over the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Mrs Gray said: “Controllers on Freeport are simply not working any overtime hours which imposes on their personal time off.” She added: “Normal operations are 6am to 10pm. Any services otherwise needed will be up to the department how they seek to address them.”

There were no reports of air traffic services issues up to press time.

Mrs Gray told The Tribune that union representatives, including those from the Family Islands, expect to meet with Ministry of Transport and Aviation officials later today.

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