Over 50 non-managerial and non-instructional staff will benefit from a three-year agreement signed by Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) and the Bahamas General Workers Union (BGWU).
The first industrial agreement ever negotiated between BTVI and a union was signed March 1, 2023 at the Office of the Prime Minister, West Bay Street.
The agreement which is estimated at a cost of $157,000 provides benefits of improved salary scales, allowances, merit pay increases, performance reviews, promotions, regularization among others.
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training congratulated the negotiating teams for BTVI and BGWU.
“BTVI is one of the most important institutions in the further progress of our nation. It is the agency that is and will have responsibility for ensuring our young people are equipped and technically sound so they can participate meaningfully in our economy,” said Minister Hanna-Martin.
“BTVI is the key to the advancement of our young people in the technical and vocational fields and for the future of our economy as a Bahamian people.
“We are looking at deepening the relationships in our high schools with BTVI. The well-being of all who work there is critical because the Bahamian people will be depending upon the performance of BTVI in advancing our cause as a people.
“I am very happy we were able to come to a consensus in such efficiency and it has resulted in improved terms and such conditions as outlined by the Acting President.”
BTVI’s Acting President Dr. Linda Davis described the signing as an “historic” occasion for BTVI because it is the first industrial agreement that the institution has signed.
She applauded the efforts of BTVI lead negotiator, Zakia Winder, and Obie Ferguson Jr., lead negotiator for BGWU.
“The negotiations lasted one month. We are pleased that through this period we were able to come to a conclusion. The current working relationship between BTVI and members of the negotiating team are extremely good,” she said.
Mr. Ferguson acknowledged the contribution of the late Dr. Thomas Bastian, former trade unionist to the agreement.
He also thanked the Government for laying the groundwork for the agreement and making it possible.
Linda Sands, BGWU Acting President, said the industrial agreement also includes up to three – 3.5 % merit pays, a cost of living increase, uniform allowance, risk allowance for security, two 15-minute breaks, outstanding merit pay for eligible staff, education assistance for professional development, administrative leave with pay, and per diem increase.
The Hon. Zane Lightbourne, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training witnessed the signing.
By KATHRYN CAMPBELL/Bahamas Information Services