A seven-day ultimatum has been issued by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) to the management of the Barbados Community College (BCC) to meet with it to discuss the impending retrenchment of workers or face a “shutdown”.
The warning was issued today by the general secretary of the NUPW, Dennis Clarke, following a meeting with BCC staff to discuss the matter, as well as the continuous late payment of their wages and salaries.
The trade unionist tells Barbados TODAY they have informed principal Gladstone Best that late payment would “no longer be tolerated” and that the NUPW intends to submit a written request for a meeting next week for talks on a retrenchment package for those who would be affected.
“If he does not meet with us, if he does not let us know by Wednesday when we’re going to meet then we’re going to close the College down because we cannot allow or continue to allow Government departments to treat workers as though they’re cattles or less than a human being,” Clarke cautioned.
“We intend to take some form of action if we don’t hear something by Wednesday next week.”
Overall, 3,000 Government workers are due to be sent home by the end of this month. Up to February, that number stood at 1,800 and since then Government has been steadily terminating employees in a bid to reach its stated target.
However, the NUPW general secretary said all effort was being made to avoid a repeat of the situation at the Drainage Division where workers were given no notice before they were sent packing.
“Up to now the principal can’t tell us anything, neither can the chairman of the board tell us anything. We do not want what happened at drainage to happen here at the Community College where workers turn up to work today and then they get a letter saying to them that their services are no longer needed,” he said.
“They have up to 16, 16, ten, 11 years service here at the college and they’re told that they’re still temporary and if you reflect on what happened at National Housing, those were the ones sent off because they were temporary.
“We do not want to see that attempted up here,” Clarke added.