Sir Roy: Layoffs could’ve been handled better
Veteran trade unionist and advisor to the general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Sir Roy Trotman, believes Government’s current retrenchment exercise could have been handled much better.
This comes after the BWU’S latest meeting with the Rural Development Commission (RDC) put a temporary halt to the state-owned enterprise’s plans to lay off 20 workers as part of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.
“There has been the need for urgency but I think there has to be some lapse period between the discovery of the need to have a cut and the information that goes to the individuals,” Sir Roy told the media yesterday after a meeting with RDC staff.
“A person should not go to work today and go back home the same day with news that that person is no longer employed.
“There has to be some means by which we break news of that sort in a manner that is much more humane.”
Since the layoffs started two weeks ago, complaints have surfaced over the short notice workers were given before being sent home.
On October 25, RDC acting director Gregory Hinds contacted the BWU, asking for a meeting three days later as it intended to terminate 20 by October 31.
Meanwhile, employees at the School Meals Department; Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance; and the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) have also reported instances of people being terminated within one working day.
On Wednesday, 62 BADMC workers were terminated amidst confusion over the process, with the corporation’s chief executive officer Shawn Tudor indicating that “the entire thing came as a surprise to me”.
Yesterday, the BADMC issued a statement indicating it had consultation with the National Union of Public Workers on October 9, to advise of the restructuring programme, and there was follow-up dialogue.
Former Minister of Agriculture Anthony Wood, now BADMC chairman, met with employees last Friday and told them about the imminent retrenchment programme. The statement said the Chief Labour Officer and the union were informed of plans to retrench the workers.
Yesterday, Sir Roy, in dealing with the RDC matter, said while he understood the economic factors behind the layoffs, he would urge state enterprises to be cautious in how they undertook the retrenchments.
With the RDC’S planned job cuts on pause, Sir Roy said the union would once again be meeting with management to work out the issue as urgently as possible.
“The chairman, who was at the meeting, indicated quite clearly he was aware of what we were saying,” Sir Roy said.
“We would believe that he expects us to have further meetings and we would hope that when we meet again, we would be able to meet the wishes and expectations of the Prime Minister and of the Government in trying to deal with BERT as urgently as possible,” he added.
The union met with the Transport Board yesterday and will meet with the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in the near future. (AD)
industrial relations officers Sean Scott, Shakeda Williams and Davida Forde walking with Sir Roy Trotman, advisor to BWU general secretary Toni Moore following the latest meeting with the Rural Development Commission yesterday.