Not like at CBC! BWU boss gives BWA staffers as­sur­ance on sev­er­ance pay­ment

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Bar­ba­dos Wa­ter Au­thor­ity (BWA) work­ers will not suf­fer the same fate as staffers at the Caribbean Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (CBC).

This as­sur­ance came from gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Bar­ba­dos Work­ers’ Union (BWU) Sen­a­tor Toni Moore, who spoke on the is­sue fol­low­ing a meet­ing yes­ter­day at Sol­i­dar­ity House with over 700 BWA em­ploy­ees.

Those em­ploy­ees had con­cerns about how they would get their money if made re­dun­dant.

“The Wa­ter Au­thor­ity would be dif­fer­ent be­cause the work­ers of the CBC were un­der an ar­range­ment where they had to re­ceive their sev­er­ance from the Na­tional In­sur­ance be­cause the CBC was not able, due to their fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, to meet the sev­er­ance pay­ments,” Moore said.

“The Wa­ter Au­thor­ity had to be in a po­si­tion to find the money to pay the work­ers’ sev­er­ance. They could not ac­cess the Na­tional In­sur­ance’s Sev­er­ance Fund for as­sis­tance,” she added.

Moore said she was sure ter­mi­nated BWA work­ers would get their sev­er­ance, a month’s pay in lieu of no­tice, and any en­ti­tle­ments for va­ca­tion pay.

Last month, when Prime Min­is­ter Mia Amor Mot­t­ley an­nounced Gov­ern­ment would be re­trench­ing 1 500 civil ser­vants, she ex­plained they would all be go­ing home with their pay­ments in hand.

That has not been the case for those 104 work­ers from the CBC which is about $115 mil­lion in debt.

Some CBC staff mem­bers are dis­sat­is­fied that they will not be re­ceiv­ing cash for their re­dun­dancy pay­ments.

In­dus­trial re­la­tions con­sul­tant to CBC, John Wil­liams, said the po­si­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion was ex­plained to the BWU dur­ing re­cent re­dun­dancy talks fol­low­ing “the re­struc­tur­ing of the cor­po­ra­tion to make it a vi­able en­tity”.

He noted: “CBC over the past year has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chal­lenges in meet­ing monthly pay­roll and is cur­rently not in a po­si­tion to set­tle out­stand­ing retroac­tive pay­ments in cash.

“As part of the Bar­ba­dos Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery and Trans­for­ma­tion (BERT) pro­gramme, the cor­po­ra­tion’s ac­cu­mu­lated debts, in­clud­ing retroac­tive em­ployee costs, are be­ing funded through a bond is­sue.

Retroac­tive pay­ments

“Un­der this ar­range­ment em­ploy­ees will re­ceive all retroac­tive pay­ments in cash, com­menc­ing April 30, 2019, paid over a 42-month pe­riod of equal pay­ments.”

The in­dus­trial re­la­tions con­sul­tant said sev­er­ance will be paid from the Sev­er­ance Pay­ment Fund which will be in cash.

“This is in keep­ing with the com­mit­ment given by Prime Min­is­ter Mia Mot­t­ley that ev­ery­thing will be done to en­sure that per­sons who are made re­dun­dant re­ceive their sev­er­ance pay­ments in the short­est pos­si­ble time,” Wil­liams added.

Moore, a mem­ber of the Na­tional In­sur­ance Board, said ef­forts were be­ing made to ex­pe­dite the sev­er­ance pay­ments to the af­fected CBC work­ers, but she could not give an ex­act time­line.

“We are very well aware of the sit­u­a­tion and there is a gen­eral com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing that as soon as those mon­eys can be paid, they are dis­bursed,” she added.

The BWA work­ers will also be get­ting their in­cre­ment pay­ments in the form of bonds from next April.

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