|Some Urban Renewal workers try to reapply for jobs|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Jun 26, 2012
Several Urban Renewal workers showed up at the Ministry of Works yesterday to reapply for their jobs and claimed that the government owes them a month’s pay in lieu of notice.
The five workers said they were not able to fill out job applications because they were told that the person responsible for that matter was not in office.
Minister of Works Philip Brave Davis last week said the workers whose contracts were not renewed could reapply for posts as the government restructures Urban Renewal.
The frustrated mothers said they do not know how they will meet their financial commitments and prepare their children for the upcoming school year without a steady pay check.
“We are not protesting because at the end of the day we want our jobs; we love our jobs,” Pamela Miller, manager of the Englerston Urban Renewal Center, told The Nassau Guardian.
“I have a mother who is sick. She has a pacemaker. I do everything for her and pay all her utilities.”
Miller and two other women who spoke with The Guardian, claimed that the government did not give them proper notice that they will be out of work.
“We were given nine days’ notice,” Miller said. “They allowed us to prepare and plan the summer camp.
“They owe me one month’s pay because they breached the contract. They did not give me proper notice and the law of the land says that you give notice.”
On Friday, former Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said the terminated workers would protest early this week.
Members of the Free National Movement (FNM) have said the ‘firings’ were political victimization and that the workers were targeted because it is suspected that they support the FNM.
But Davis has said the government has the right not to renew certain contracts when they expire June 30. He said the government wants to ensure that Urban Renewal is staffed by people who buy into the government’s vision and can execute it effectively.
Cornelia Taylor, who works at the Fox Hill center, said she loves being able to give back to her community through her work and has no desire to frustrate the government’s mandate for Urban Renewal.
“For anyone to say that we at Urban Renewal, because we support the Free National Movement, would jeopardize our jobs to play politics, it’s silly,” Taylor said. “We are your average folks.”
Karen Brown, who works at the Fort Charlotte center, said the government should have given the workers a chance to prove themselves or a performance review before terminating their contracts.
“I felt hurt and betrayed as a young Bahamian,” Brown said.
“I don’t know if words can explain how I feel to know that [the government thinks] I will stagnate a program. I live in the community I work in so if anything goes wrong it affects me any way you put it.”
The women, who are still employed at various Urban Renewal centers until June 30, said they took an early lunch hour to fill out job applications.
Last week, FNM Chairman Charles Maynard said that at least 75 Urban Renewal workers will be out of work at the end of June after the government told them their contracts will not be renewed.
Maynard said 35 of the workers are attached to Urban Renewal offices in New Providence and 41 are in Grand Bahama.