Sir Roy: Lay­offs could’ve been han­dled bet­ter

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

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”.

Fol­low-up di­a­logue

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.

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