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News Report: Unemployment Extension Hailed By Labour Specialist

published April 8th, 2021 by Youri Kemp - Tribune Business Reporter

The extension of unemployment benefits by the government has been hailed as “fantastic” by a senior businessman who believes it will help stave off redundancies for many furloughed workers. Peter Goudie, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) labour specialist, told Tribune Business yesterday that it is “fantastic” that the government decided to extend the unemployment benefit assistance until May of this year.

Mr. Goudie said: “This is fantastic news because there are a lot of people out there who just don’t have the income and are not working. It keeps away this whole business of redundancy at the moment. If they start being made redundant they are really going to be in trouble.”

Brensil Rolle, minister responsible for the public service and the National Insurance Board, speaking to reporters outside the cabinet office earlier this week said government will extend its assistance for another month into May. Eligible persons will still be able to receive $100 instead of the originally stated $150.

Employee union representatives have been calling for mega resorts to make their workers redundant as the law makes provisions for, rather than having workers holding on in furlough indefinitely without any salary during the economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obie Ferguson, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) president, has already filed action in the Supreme Court to force resorts to follow the law and pay furloughed workers that want to be made redundant, something Mr. Ferguson said affects “a significant number of persons.”

Mr. Goudie, however, said that as a result of the extension of the unemployment benefit there is “at least some relief in sight,” considering it is costing the government a lot of money.

Responding to the fact that the Emergency Powers order that had supposedly suspended the right to redundancy in the Employment Act being improperly worded as the emergency orders amends a provision in the Employment Act that does not exist, Mr. Goudie said: “That’s something we are going to have to look at. At the national tripartite council on Thursday, I’m going to bring that up.”

“I realize there is not much we can do, but you don’t want people being made redundant. So it’s like six of one or half a dozen of the other. We’ve never been down this road before.”

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