The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is holding out hope that some workers sent home at the start of Government’s retrenchment exercise last week will be reinstated.
In particular, the NUPW general secretary Dennis Clarke believes a strong case can be made out in circumstances where the sole breadwinners have been dismissed.
He spoke to reporters following a meeting with National Housing Corporation (NHC) workers this evening at the union’s Dalkeith Headquarters.
“We have had complaints and we have had representation made about [persons] being the sole breadwinners and we have forwarded those to the appropriate authorities . . . and we [are] just giving them a few more days, because we expect a correction to this situation,” he said
The union official further expects that any reinstatement of sole breadwinners would not only apply to the NHC but “similarly with Drainage workers” who received their walking papers at the end of December.
Following a meeting with the unions last month, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had said that an official list was being generated, comprising the names of workers likely to be sent home.
However, he noted then that the formulation of that list was “taking a little longer than expected” and promised that it would have been shared with the unions, so they could have further discussion with their members.
Asked whether he had seen such a document, Clarke stated emphatically: “I have not seen the list. I am awaiting the list, full stop!”
Clarke however pointed out that the list “will not tell you anything about sole breadwinner, multiple breadwinners or anything of that nature”.
“It would appear that they [Government] are putting the onus on the unions to find the sole breadwinners in this particular exercise. I would have to employ ten more persons in this institution to make any dent in that because to find the sole breadwinner is not an easy thing to do,” he said.
The head of the country’s largest public sector union said he remained in the dark about the numbers that had actually gone home to date, as more reports surfaced this evening of more dismissals in the public sector where the Government was seeking to meet a layoff target of 3,000 by the end of March.
The latest Government departments said to be affected are the National Insurance Scheme and the Ministry of Transport and Works.
However, Clarke could not confirm the actual numbers, complaining that “the way how it is being done is not orderly”.
“You just wake up and you hear three gone [from] here. You go home and go to sleep and during the night, you get a call [that] six gone from here. You go back to sleep, you come back to work the next day and you will hear [that] ten gone from there. It is not an orderly thing,” Clarke added.