[Bahamas] ATC Union: Failure To Establish Safety Committee

Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers’ Union
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[Bahamas] ATC Union: Failure To Establish Safety Committee

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http://www.tribune242.com/news/2014/nov ... establish/

[Bahamas] Air Traffic Union Highlights Failure To Establish Safety Committee
NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BAHAMAS Air Traffic Controllers Union President Lashan Gray yesterday said the Civil Aviation Department’s failure to establish a Health and Safety Committee for air traffic controllers and resolve several other issues is preventing the union from “truly speaking to progress within air traffic services.”

Her comments came on the sidelines of a tour of the Lynden Pindling International Airport’s (LPIA) new ASR 12 radar, along with an apparent overhaul of the air traffic control facilities. The tour was led by Prime Minister Perry Christie and Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin.

Mrs Gray told The Tribune that despite the “many infrastructural, beautiful works” being done by the government to upgrade the facilities, the union still has to ensure that “the human element or the human factors are not disregarded in the entire process.”

“We have a number of issues that are still outstanding,” she said. “I’m hoping that we’re able to at least negotiate to get beyond those things. Among those issues would be things ranging from fundamental rights such as holiday pay, overtime compensation, and the health and safety issues that were indicated previously. We’re still seeking to have our health and safety committee actually implemented in accordance with the law. We’re hoping that all these things will be able to pass before we’re able to truly speak to progress within air traffic services.

“We encourage infrastructural development, we encourage overall development of the air traffic services, but we also encourage the development of the human element within the aviation industry and for air traffic controllers,” she said. In September, amidst a dispute between the CAD and the union regarding the disciplining of two air traffic controllers, Ms Hanna Martin admitted that the CAD had “failed” to establish a health and safety committee” and said steps were then being taken for its “immediate establishment”.

Two weeks later, however, the union conducted its first strike poll, saying it was “prepared to act” if the CAD did not bring resolution to the “outstanding” health matters plaguing the union’s members.

Mrs Gray at the time said the CAD had initiated a meeting “with respect to an attempt to set up a health and safety committee,” but lamented that it had not yet been established.

Yesterday, when asked about Mrs Gray’s concerns, Ms Hanna Martin told The Tribune that the “outstanding” matters were currently being addressed by herself and the CAD.

“I feel there’s no reason why we should not be able to move forward and address all of the matters,” she said.

“We have an industrial agreement coming up; we just have to get back to the table to discuss those issues. We’re making progress, and I believe that we’re going to get on track and do what needs to be done.”

Mr Christie also addressed the matter yesterday.

“We want all workers to be pleased,” he said. “(The BATCU) took the opportunity to say to me that a matter has been referred to the Industrial Tribunal. They want to resume negotiations, they want to have constructive engagements with the Ministry of Labour which is also involved. The minister (of aviation) indicated that is something she would be pleased to accommodate.

“There are so many demanding priorities, and we hope that the workers of the country fully understand the dilemma the government has as we’re trying to come out of a really wicked recession and its impact.”
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