Employees, who operated from one of Government’s revenue collection agencies, were ordered to leave the department in which they worked 24 hours after being asked to hand over their access cards.
An upset general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Dennis Clarke, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that the staff in the Land Tax Division in the Warrens Towers No. 2, were “wrongly” instructed to get out of the building this morning, as the Freundel Stuart administration moved to merge its revenue collection agencies into one revenue authority.
Clarke argued that no one in the new entity had the authority to instruct those public officers to leave.
“The issue is how these workers were treated. They did not commit a crime; you gave them an option, and they made a choice. And what one thought would have happened is, as agreed to with the Civil Service and the minister, that they would have remained on the job until the Public Service Commission is ready to place them, or even put them on special leave. That did not occur today,” the NUPW leader pointed out.
“You would have had those Land Tax workers who work in the Warrens area . . . in Warrens Towers Two. Yesterday evening they were asked to submit their access cards, and this morning they were told they can’t remain in the building, and they sent them to another building that houses the Financial Services Commission,” the veteran trade unionist said.
“Again, who gave the instructions. Who has the authority to give the instructions? Nobody from the revenue earning authority has that authority. That authority resides in the Chief Personnel Officer, and when I checked with her today, she did not give any instructions. So those workers had no right moving from where they were,” Clarke insisted.
“These problems occur, when you have people . . . hard ears people, who wouldn’t listen; because I have said you needed two more weeks to work out the problems [with transition to the new Revenue Authority], and look at what would eventually develop.
“They [Government authorities] did not accede to the request; so they have everybody running around now like peacocks with their heads cut off; and this is most unfortunate.”
Stating he did not think there was much more which could be done, the NUPW general secretary said the union would now have to ensure that it met with the Chief Personnel Officer on behalf of all the workers from Government’s revenue collection agencies.
“The ones who were not given an option –– which was wrong –– everybody should have been given an option; the ones who decided they were not going anywhere, that they did not want to work with the board [Revenue Authority]; we would now have to group together and meet with the Chief Personnel Officer to see where they could be placed; if they could be placed on special leave, whatever; but we’ve now got to start that negotiation, and we want to start it as fast as possible,” Clarke declared.