Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will be asked tomorrow to intervene to try and stave off possible strike action against the Barbados Water Authority.
General secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, Sir Roy Trotman, said tonight, following a general meeting of BWA employees at Solidarity House, that management had been given a deadline to return to the bargaining table to settle a seven-year-old dispute over increments, along with a list of other outstanding issues. Sir Roy said, while he was trying to avoid a strike, the union was being pushed to do so. He declined to specify the ultimatum, because the letter had not yet gone off to management of the Water Authority.
The BWU boss will also be calling again on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to intervene and help speed up the long drawn out dispute.
“When the Barbados Water Authority recognized the
seriousness with which we were holding this meeting, the management of the Water Authority sought to have from us, an extension of the time that they had been given by which to have the matter of increments dealt with,” the veteran trade union leader noted.
“They have properly elevated the matter of increments to priority listing among the outstanding issues. Our president indicated then, that even if he was sympathetic towards a request to giving time, that the manner in which the request was being made, was such that he, would not respond himself, but that he would allow the general meeting to make that determination.
“The general meeting has decided to respond to the Barbados Water Authority, giving a deadline by which that particular correspondence must be sent to the union, indicating when we should have a proposal and start those discussions,” continued Sir Roy.
“The meeting also took note of the fact that during the Budget presentation, Honourable Freundel Stuart indicated that he would take over the Barbados Water Authority discussions to bring the ionics programme to some form of resolution. The meeting noted that his initial efforts in September to start those discussions were delayed by the fact that the Barbados Water Authority was refusing, even up at that time, to grant recognition to the management members of the Water Authority staff, and that they were trying
instead to determine whom they could chose for the workers as their representative organization.”
Sir Roy said the Prime Minister gave certain instructions to the board regarding that subject, “but so far as we are aware, the board has either not responded to him, or if the board has responded, surely the board has not written to the Barbados Workers Union granting that recognition”, the BWU leader stated.
He told reporters the union would remind the Prime Minister tomorrow to return to the discussions and speed up the process.
“We plan to take that matter up again and ask the Prime Minister to follow through and free up the discussions, so that we are able to have this very vital part of the Barbados Water Authority’s programme proceed without the barriers and the hiccups which seem to have attended previous efforts.”
“Hopefully tomorrow, we will remind him [the Prime Minister], coming out of this meeting, and we will hold ourselves respectfully available in the event that the Prime Minister chooses to assist in the process.”
Sir Roy said that while the issue of increments was the most pressing issue, the management of the authority would be reminded of the other outstanding matters, when both parties meet again at the bargaining table.