Concerted efforts by the social partnership to discourage businesses either from sending home workers or shutting down, seem not to be working as well as anticipated.
A new national study has revealed that about 71 companies in Barbados closed their doors during the 2010-2011 period, putting scores of employees on the breadline. News of this is contained in the 2012 Macro-Productivity Indicators Project, which presents the results of the National Survey of Productivity, conducted by the National Productivity Council in five industries — accommodation, construction, financial services, manufacturing and wholesale and retail.
The study showed that seven companies in the accommodation sector went out of business, four in construction, 21 in the distribution and 39 in manufacturing. It noted that one construction company abandoned its core business in exchange for another, while three manufacturing firms also changed theirs.
Meanwhile, the report has found that productivity and absenteeism across the island did not lend themselves to companies keeping their doors open, particularly under the current economic downturn.
“In 2011, national productivity fell by 2.2 per cent, down from 3.7 per cent in 2010,” the study stated.
However, it was not all bad news for some sectors of the economy as far as growth was concerned.
“The results are three specific forms of labour productivity indicators and the absenteeism rate. The results suggest that four of the five industries under review had positive rates of growth: these were accommodation (1.6 per cent); financial services (37.0 per cent) — the highest for 2011; manufacturing (0.4 per cent) and wholesale and retail trade (9.3 per cent),” the report concluded.
“The other industry, construction, registered a contraction of 3.0 per cent.”
With respect to absenteeism, the study discovered that the lowest rate recorded for the overall industries in 2011 was in the construction industry, 13.3 per cent.
“With regards to the sub-sectors under review, food, beverage and tobacco — fish processors — 3.8 per cent had the lowest overall average absenteeism rate. This was followed by apartments (8.1 per cent), clothing and textiles — textiles (8.6 per cent) and service stations (9.6 per cent).”
The highest absenteeism rate for the industries was in the financial services sector — 17.9 per cent. However, significant absenteeism rates were registered for clothing and textiles — framing (24.5 per cent), chemicals (23.5 per cent), retail — house and hardware supplies and mining and quarrying (21.3 per cent), retail — books and stationery (20.7 per cent) and non-metallic mineral products – cement and concrete (20.1 per cent). (EJ)