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.
“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.