The Barbados Workers Union is saddened by Government’s decision to send home 3,000 public sector workers from next month.
Responding to the announcement in the House of Assembly today by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler to lay off the workers as part of cost-cutting measures to close a worrying fiscal deficit gap, general secretary of the BWU, Sir Roy Trotman told Barbados TODAY, such a decision was painful to contemplate.
Sir Roy said this was particularly traumatic, especially coming at a time when so many other difficulties and hardships were being experienced.
The union boss suggested that severing these workers would also cause a great pall of sadness and distress to fall, not only on the public sector, but the private as well.
The veteran trade union leader noted that the cuts may mean sympathetic action could follow from those in the private sector, who stood to suffer as well. However, Sir Roy was happy that the number of workers identified were less than the original figure being reported.
This, he added, was still no consolation.
He told this newspaper the BWU had met with Sinckler last Wednesday and had agreed that no statement would be made that could cause consternation to the population.
Sir Roy said that next week the union would like to have discussions with the minister in order to address this situation and what could be done to ease the burden on the most vulnerable persons in the society.
He stated that the union would be seeking to have the 3,000 proposed layoffs reduced during consultations to follow.
The BWU general secretary is also suggesting that government should avoid sending home entire households as part of its retrenchments.
As far as the proposed review of statutory boards was concerned, Sir Roy urged Government not to rush into any reform but seriously consider the possible social and economic dislocation and fall out which could occur if care was not taken. He identified the Transport Board as one entity which must be handled with care. Sir Roy was happy, though, that nurses and the police, were not being affected by the layoffs. [email protected]