BAMC to cut 46
ABOUT 46 SUGAR WORKERS are being cut from the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC).
They are the latest casualties under the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme.
Yesterday the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the BAMC reached an agreement regarding the number of workers to be laid off from the organisation, and also thrashed out other outstanding issues.
After a near two-hour meeting, BWU deputy general secretary Dwaine Paul said that number did not include those who accepted separation packages. He added the union was satisfied with the meeting’s outcome.
BAMC general manager Leslie
Parris said: “The numbers were discussed in detail with the union and will be further divulged following the briefing notes. We are talking approximately 42 to 46 persons covering a number of areas of the company’s operations.”
Mechanics to drivers
He said from mechanics to drivers would be let go, as well as support staff who would no longer be required. He added that field employees who worked daily during the harvest season would not be laid off.
Parris also spoke about this year’s sugar harvest projections, saying the BAMC was anticipating that about 146 000 tonnes of sugar cane would be delivered to Portvale Factory, with 11 000 tonnes or more of sugar produced. He added that those figures would be revised as the date for the start of the harvest drew nearer.
He did not disclose the start date, however.
“We expect to start steam trials on the 21st of February and the crop shortly thereafter. We would not want to go too far into the following month before starting the crop as this would significantly impact the future production of cane.”
Parris dismissed claims that Portvale was not fit for operation, saying that based on reports from the manager, the plant was 84 per cent ready.
Factory manager Raphael O’neal is no longer with the company. Parris said he was a contractual worker and as part of the retrenchment programme, his contract was not renewed.
Trinidadian-born O’neal spent five years at the company after taking over from John Goodman, who has been there for 20 years.
The new manager is Michael Armstrong, who acted in the position for four years and has worked at the factory for over a decade.
Parris said new developments would soon be taking place at the Blowers, St James factory, explaining that operations would be expanded, new equipment bought and the plant powered by renewable energy. He did not disclose the starting date of the project or the cost.
BWU deputy general secretary Dwaine Paul (left) and sugar workers making their way to the meeting yesterday.