With the April 1 deadline fast approaching for sign-on to a new super agency, the fate of more than 400 workers at Government revenue collection agencies remains up in the air.
Today, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Barbados Public Service Commission held their latest round of talks and are scheduled to meet again on the future of workers who will not be part of the soon to be formed Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA).
Following the meeting at the union’s Dalkeith headquarters with members from Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue, Licensing Authority, VAT Office, and Land Tax Departments, NUPW general secretary Dennis Clarke said there were only 300 positions to be filled at the BRA.
“You have more employees than you have posts in BRA. Somewhere along the line, this is where we are going to have to get to Service Commission and [have] discussions with them over how they will place those who didn’t want go to BRA and those who will not be able to go to BRA because [there are] more persons than you have positions,” he said.
Clarke also revealed that talks were held last Friday with Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler and his permanent secretaries.
“That meeting was to look at an offensive portion in a letter of expression of interest which we wanted withdrawn and that was done. We wanted to know how many people would not be offered a letter of expression of interest and we were told seven. We were able to get that figure adjusted.
“This evening, we [also] looked at those persons . . . there are some who should have been appointed under the 2007 Public Service Act. We have to get that straightened out and make sure that they get appointed before there is any transition. Then there is a salary that is attached to each post and the workers are concerned about those salary-ranges because they wanted to see the incremental scale [and how it] fitted in to their salaries,” Clarke added, noting that in case of activities at the Port, an area to be looked at pertained to the collection of cash at the site,” the union official added.
Earlier this month, the battle lines were drawn when workers were given the April 1 deadline to sign on to the new revenue authority. Many of the employees had received letters indicating that they would receive a reduced salary, a move which Clarke had condemned.