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"Enough Is Enough" Say Trade Unions

By Keishla Smith, Bahamas Journal, 5 July 2000

"Enough is enough!" was the refrain of trade unionists last night as they met to scrutinize the package of proposed labour legislation on the eve of the opening of the debate in the House of Assembly. While individual critiques presented by various union leaders varied, the common view was that the Bills are being rushed through the process.

Just a week after the unions made a bonfire of the Bills they called ?regressive and restrictive" during the TRIFOR conference, labour leaders met at Worker?s House Tuesday night in what they said was the first of a series of forums through which they will educate their members about the implications of the Bills.

"If you believe anything I say to you tonight, believe this. It is important that we remain together in unity and focused," said Leroy "Duke" Hanna, President of the National Congress of Trade Unions.

"The NCTU and the Trade Union Congress has decided that enough is enough. We have come together to make sure that the workers get their fair share," said Mr. Hanna.

Trade Union Congress President Obie Ferguson said the Bills are not in the interest of workers.

"There are some parts of the Bills that do make sense. But, generally speaking, the Bills are not in the interest of the working people," he reiterated.

Mr. Ferguson said Labour will be keenly tuned in to contributions in the House and hinted that a united show of opposition would come if they were not pleased with the final draft of the Bills.

"That will be a surprise," said Mr. Ferguson, "but we will do what we have to do in the interest of the working people."   Progressive Liberal Party Leader Perry Christie met yesterday in closed meetings with both labour and employer representatives to ascertain their views. "Recommendations have been made that are worthy of serious consideration," he said.

"We trust that the Government will not move hastily with this but give both the employers and the representatives of the employees an opportunity to minimize any issues that may exist so that the execution and the enforcement of the legislation is in the context of harmonious industrial relations and a good industrial climate,? he said.

"We hope that the Government will entertain the recommendation from us that if there are going to be a significant number of amendments and serious amendments to the Bill, that the Bill ought not to be proceeded with tomorrow, said Mr. Christie.