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Oct 14, 2016

Prime Minister Outlines Social Security and Pensions

Dean Barrow

The Prime Minister met until into the evening with the B.N.T.U. on Thursday. When he emerged from that meeting he told the media that there was agreement on many of the eight demands of the union. The salary adjustment, Social Security coverage for incidents happening away from work and pension coverage for support staff and teachers in grant-aided schools are specific labour issues which have now been separated from the good governance issues. These include the thirteenth Senator, the Integrity Commission, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Public Accounts Committee and the international support for the murder investigation of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas, which they have admitted some movement on. Because of the lateness of the hour, we didn’t get to report on the proposal to revise the Social Security Act.  That amendment should allow for the Social Security Board to provide insurance protection for teachers and other laborers to and from work.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The next item was an amendment to the Social Security Act to include the coverage to and from work.  I made clear, as I’ve said before, that government believes that there is justice in the case being made by the B.N.T.U. and by others.  This is something that the joint unions had raised with the government sometime ago, the N.T.U.C.B. is very much interested in and so I believe that it is something that government will do.  I’ve had some feedback from the chairman of the Social Security Board as to some safeguards.  The board would like to see put in place before we actually amend the legislation to provide for this.  So I could not give the B.N.T.U. any sell-by date, I could not say this will be done, the law will be changed by such and such a date.  The most I could do was to indicate what I just described to you, that I am pretty certain that it will be done but it will only be done when we have all our ducks in a row and can fully ventilate, discuss, agree with the proposals from the S.S.B. Board as to what will accompany the change in legislation to provide for these new injury benefits for all persons insured under this scheme, under the S.S.B. scheme. B.N.T.U. Special Proposal Twenty-two.  Again, that is not something I can deal with, I made clear.  That was a matter that was part of the collective bargaining agreement process between government and the Joint Unions Negotiating Team, that is the B.N.T.U., the A.P.S.S.M. and the P.S.U.   The minutes of the last meeting that we saw suggested that there had been an agreement for this Special Proposal Twenty-two to be deferred to the next round of collective bargaining agreement negotiations.  The B.N.T.U. made clear that that was not, that is not their recollection of what happened.  So, because that CBA has not officially been signed-off on yet, another meeting of official side, of the parties, of government and the Joint Unions Negotiating Team will be convened to look at in fact closing off the last or the current CBA round, which we thought had been done but which the B.N.T.U. has been saying has not been done.  So that mechanism will be reconvened to look at closing off the CBA and in the course of discussing that closure they will naturally have to discuss as well, the Special Proposal Twenty-two.  So it’s not something that I can or I’m prepared to handle.  That must be sent back to this framework involving the Joint Unions Negotiating Team.”

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