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Jul 29, 2009

PM denounces N.T.U.C.B. dissent on Essential Services

Story PictureThe settlement of disputes Essential Services Amendment Bill was introduced at the last house meeting in the capital and it is causing a firestorm. The National Trade Union Congress indicated they were against the amendment because it further reduces the avenues that they have to protest. They indicated that they would not let the rights gained by their previous leaders be eroded. Though the union’s general secretary did not say specifically what it would do, he did indicate that strikes are possible. The Prime Minister did not take those statements made by the N.T.U.C.B. lightly. And in his own words, the PM told News Five today, that if the organization wants war then, “Bring it on.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Look, an essential service is just what it means; ensuring the continuity of an essential services has to be a paramount responsibility of any government. That means that when you are a worker in an essential service, you cannot be allowed to disrupt that essential service because you have some industrial relations beef. When you do that, you in fact prejudice the larger society and in a fundamental way. I am not seeking to extend the categories of essential services. Those categories, or that category, is very recognised. The services that have been designated essential services are well recognised. What I am doing is ensuring that this loophole is plugged, the law was in the fifty’s and it spoke to preventive strike action. Obviously, since that time people have become more sophisticated and you have other forms of industrial action that don’t quite amount to strike action, but that are similarly disruptive. That includes the go slow, the sick out and the work to rule.”

Jose Sanchez
“But they said that made the M.O.U. come about.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Nothing, should disrupt the essential service and this government will amend the law to prescribe to prevent as well the other forms of industrial action.”

Jose Sanchez
“They were saying for a year they were talking but it’s that “go slow” and that one day “sick out” that led to the signing of the M.O.U.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“They were talking about what?”

Jose Sanchez
“They were talking about the problems with the hospital. The doctors, what avenues are then opened up for them to protest?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“You can go on the streets. You can in fact come to the government and say that you have a dispute and the law provides for a methodology for dealing with disputes. It’s not as though their grievances won’t be redressed. I don’t know why they would think the only way to redress those grievances is to engage in the kind of industrial action that will disrupt and dislocate an essential service. If the N.T.U.C.B. wants to continue with the kind of irresponsible rhetoric I’ve been hearing from them, if they want to threaten war, bring it on. There will be no retreat absolutely from what we intend to do, because it is the right thing to do.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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