Approximately 30 National Insurance Board (NIB) workers protested yesterday morning against the social security agency, accusing it of unfairly intending to dock their pay next month for absences that were taken last year.
Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle confirmed that NIB had issued letters to applicable employees about the pay cut in December, but he said that move has been postponed, agreeing the timing of the exercise was not ideal.
According to Rolle, human resources and NIB Director Patricia Hermanns met yesterday afternoon to further discuss the matter.
Union of Public Officers President Marvin Duncan claimed workers provided explanations for their absences to human resources when previously requested.
He decried the treatment of his members, calling it “inhumane”.
“You cannot treat our people inhumanely and expect us to perform,” he told the media.
“People learn what they live. But you treat us like animals and we perform [as] such.
“And we are sick and tired of this.
“We are standing today to let the world and country know, enough is simply enough.”
Those in the crowd flanking the union president echoed that they too have had enough.
Duncan also took issue with what he said was a lack of union consultation about the pay dock.
One employee pointed out that Bahamians are preparing their finances for the Yuletide season, and then “we get a letter to say that if we don’t produce a written document to them by the 29th of this month that our salaries will be cut for December”.
“That is unfair. That is not right,” she said.
“Human Resources, if they have a problem with being able to keep their documents together or being able to put them in the system, so they know where we are, then they have to fix their problem.”
Additionally, Public Managers Union Vice President Eulie Elliot noted that the workers utilize an electronic system to record their arrival and departure.
She questioned why NIB does not have all the necessary records.
“Why is it that they don’t know where we are?” she asked.
“Why is it that their system is so backdated?
“They have sufficient manpower, from what we can see, to manage the area.
“We are just asking for them to do their job.”
She said the workers haven taken a stand to show that “something has to break – enough is enough”.
Several other workers complained about late checks and insisted the proposed pay dock compounds an already “stressful time”.
The workers held up placards which read: “Whatever it takes”; “stronger, together”; “my outrage cannot fit on this sign”; and “fair promotion”.