[The Bahamas] Casual employment detrimental to Grand Bahama

Union leaders are expressing ongoing concerns about the widespread casual employment of Bahamian workers by companies across the island, Tribune 242 reports.

Union leaders continue to speak out because they believe the practice is unfair and the reason for the downturn of the island’s economy and depopulation. They think the issue has gone unaddressed for too long, by successive governments, and that this lack of action is to the detriment of Bahamian workers.

The issue of casual employment numbers among many labour issues that the unions intend to speak to at the Labour Day rally and march on June 7.

The procession begins at 8.30am at Lucayan/Freeport Harbour and proceeds through the communities of Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, and to the YMTA Centre in Hunters, concluding in a labour rally.

Kirkland Russell - vice president of the Bahamas Managerial Hotel Union, and vice president of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress - said this year’s theme, “One For All, All For One” is a significant and timely one for the labour movement.

Mr Russell emphasised the point that the unions do not support casual employment because it does not provide casual workers with the same benefits other workers are entitled to under the labour laws.

The unions outlined a number of labour issues and concerns facing workers in an eight-page position paper. The paper was sent on behalf of the Coalition of Trade Unions in Grand Bahama to Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson.

Carla Rose - Grand Bahama Taxi Union representative - said taxicab drivers are facing a number of problems which they have put to the government. These include a taxi fare rate increase and the problem of soliciting at the harbour, in addition to issues at the hotels and airport.

Mr Russell reportedly said, “We believe that through dialogue and legislation change, they ought to immediately address the casual workforce phenomenon that is rampant in Grand Bahama. We believe casual labour is wreaking havoc on the workforce in GB, adversely affecting a person’s ability to get loans, to be protected, and we believe it is a form of union busting.”