Government is still yet to determine who will go home at the end of the month, when it begins it retrenchment of 3,000 public sector employees.
This revelation from Minister of Labour and Social Security Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, who says, however, that the date of January 31 was not ever given as the date when all persons would go home.
“[I]f you remember when the announcement was first made in December, a roll-out when the implementation would start was the middle of January, and then to go down to the end of March. When we got to the middle of January, we realized that we didn’t even have the list because we were still agreeing on modalities as well . . . so that the date set for the initial retrenchment of the first batch, if you will, is the end of January. Yes, we expect that some would be able to go home, but not by any means are we going to be in a position to send home those hundreds of people who have to go home.
“And I say hundreds because, right now, there is no telling what that list is. I have heard people saying oh, 5,000, 6,000; the truth is when we started this exercise, we said that from a fiscal perspective, we could get where we wanted to get if 5,000 people went home. [But], we sat with the union and then it came down, and it came down, and it came down, and I don’t know where it is going to end up because it [is] certainly below 3,000,” she said, suggesting that the final tally could be much less than earlier suggested.
Byer-Suckoo, speaking at a Barbados Light & Power workshop, also revealed Government would be using the “first in, last out” method to determine exactly who would be going home, but this in itself bore some degree of trepidation, as it could result in some of the best workers in government being severed.
“We do not believe that it is necessarily the best method . . . you have heard us talk about performance appraisal, performance measurement . . . unless there has been performance measurement in the service, there is no other [way] by which you can send home people.
“I have heard the concern that if we do first in last out, we are sending home some of our better workers. That is all very subjective. [Permanent Secretaries] may know which workers are working well and which ones are not, but if they have not been writing it down; if it has not been documented, there is nothing to go on,” the minister stressed.
She lamented that in the good times before the crisis hit, such a system of checks and balances was neglected.