The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has blasted Government, accusing it of finding “technical ways” of sending home persons, even before the January 15 date announced for mass layoffs in the Public Service.
The tongue-lashing from general secretary of the union, Dennis Clarke, comes as at least 300, and what could be as many as 500 plus workers attached to the Drainage Division were sent home, until further notice.
Barbados TODAY was reliable informed that the instructions came during a meeting this morning and was delivered by the supervisors for the nearly 12 districts.
The move will affect those persons who were not appointed and who were a part of Government National Environment Enhancement Programme.
It is further understood that those Drainage workers who would have started out working under the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) around 2005, and were transferred are to report to work on Thursday to the headquarters of the Division, located at the Ministry’s complex in the Pine, St Michael.
Clarke explained to Barbados TODAY: “They [the workers] would have been given fixed term contracts and in a lot of a cases with the people from the Drainage, their fixed terms contracts would have come to an end on the 31st day of December – today. Nobody is looking at the fact that these are persons who would have been on for four, sometimes five years, in a temporary situation, who, in my view, should have been appointed to the post that they were in.
“That is the methodology being used to get rid of these people, which means then that they are not coming to the table to sit with the NUPW and the BWU to work things out. These people are members of either of the unions [NUPW or BWU] and we should have been at the table, looking at how we are going to deal with these particular situations,” he said while suggesting that this was the “wild way” in which officials were dealing with workers.
“They never had permanent employment. They had these contracts that they would renew and renew and renew. One needs to ask, now, what is going to happen to these people and their children?” Clarke queried, hinting that before the end of the week, more could be going home.
“One big area of concern is that some of those workers that came over to from the MTW, they have not been appointed. Therefore like anybody they have been receiving fixed term letters. It has not escaped them. That should not have been the situation.
“We should have gotten around the table as we did back in 1991 and discussed and look at where you were going to cut from, the length of service and so on. They have not done that.”
In this regard, those workers who have been told not to report until instructed, have been invited to a meeting at the NUPW’s Dalkeith Headquarters on Thursday at 10 a.m.
Clarke told Barbados TODAY: “We will sit and listen to them and we will take information and we will get to the Ministry of the Civil Service to look at the approach to ensure that we have a process similar to what happening in 1991 and what happened in 1982. That is what we are aiming for.”