Go back to the polls as soon as possible!
That’s how one bus driver who expressed uncertainty over his status at the Transport Board reacted to today’s retrenchment of several workers at that statutory corporation.
“This Government made a solemn promise to poor workers that no one will be laid off; now it is doing the exact opposite. This is hard on poor people. What are they expected to do in these difficult times?” the concerned worker said.
From as early as 11:30 a.m. today, workers who were facing retrenchment began to make the trek to a small wooden structure which once housed the workers’ co-operative where personnel from the human resources department of the board were handing out green slips and statutory entitlements under the watchful eyes of the board’s security officers.
While most of the workers bore their fate stoically, at least one long-standing worker who was not included in the workers severed today broke down in sympathy with some of her severed co-workers and had to be treated by the board’s industrial nurse, Shirley Stuart.
In fact, some of the workers who in some cases had worked at the board in excess of 30 years, expressed relief at being severed, arguing they would now be able to stay a little longer in bed on the mornings and spend more quality time with their grandchildren.
However, clerk in the cash department, Errie Knight, expressing disgust at being severed after 10 years of service said: “This is the most victimization I have come across in my life. I was a bus driver but sustained injury in an accident. Since that time I have been moved from department to department. I want to get from around this place.
“I hope they have my green slip ready for presentation to the National Insurance office because I live in Speightstown and have no intention of returning here for it. I experienced retrenchment in 1991 when I worked at the Ministry of Transport and Works and I survived,” Knight added.
One retrenched worker on emerging from the office where the documents were being handed out said loudly: “Lord, let me go to the industrial nurse and see if my pressure is up in the air.”
Fuel porter at the Mangrove Depot for the past 24 years, Meldene Clarke, who sustained injury to her right hand looked forward to parting company with the board.
During this morning’s proceedings general manager Sandra Forde; human resources manager Markley Clarke and operations manager Desmond Sabir were seen hurrying around in the Weymouth compound.
There were unconfirmed reports that the services of psychologist Dr Marcus Lashley were retained to assist workers who were traumatized by the retrenchment.
An air-conditioned bus was also on stand-by to provide shelter for any worker who was overwhelmed by the occasion.
Meanwhile, when a Barbados TODAY team visited the headquarters of the Barbados Workers’ Union on Harmony Hall, St Michael, for his reaction to the lay-offs, general secretary Sir Roy Trotman, was unavailable.
However, when pressed for a comment, president of the Transport Board Division Dale Medford, who was on the union compound just after 1 p.m., said: “I am awaiting directions from Sir Roy. We are concerned over breaches of Protocol 6 and the recently enacted Employment Rights Act.”