Bahamasair responds to comments by AAAWU president

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Statement by Bahamasair

$22.7 Million ATR aircraft arrives at Bahamasair.
$22.7 Million ATR aircraft arrives at Bahamasair.

The Board of Directors and Management of Bahamasair wishes to express its absolute shock and disappointment in the comments made by the President of the Airport, Airline & Allied Workers Union (AAAWU) during a press conference yesterday. The mere fact that industrial action would even be threatened during this time of year is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the company’s operations and shake customer confidence during our peak season. When negotiations started 14 months ago, the AAAWU presented a proposal seeking 18 increments over a 5 year period. When we, management and the union came to the table as directed by the Deputy Prime Minister on Monday December 7th, we were 2 increments apart.

During that meeting, the Managing Director gave absolute assurances that if an agreement was reached by the 9th of December all AAAWU staff would receive all of their back pay by cheque on December 18th, as this would have been outside the normal pay cycle. This accounts for over $820,000 in payments to the staff. In addition to this, management seeking to find common ground, moved closer by conceding one additional increment. Therefore, when the meeting concluded we were only one increment apart – a fact that was confirmed by management in writing at the request of the President the very same day.

Imagine our collective surprise when we received a letter from the President of the union out rightly rejecting management’s offer on December 9th. At the time we acknowledged receipt and referred the matter to our Board of Directors which will meet on Monday December 21stAt no time has our intent ever deviated, our staff has always been a priority. In fact to underscore the sense of cooperation and company minded approach our other union partners have demonstrated, we point to the Public Managers Union and the IAMAW that represents Florida staff; both agreed to less with a view to strengthen opportunity for the staff and ultimately the company.

The Board and Management remain steadfast in their willingness and commitment to bring closure to this industrial agreement; as we have always kept the interest of our staff at heart. We recognize the economic realities of the times in which we live and hope that we have not lost an opportunity to find common ground with the union and sign an economically sound agreement that benefits all stakeholders.