National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers have been summoned to a meeting tomorrow morning at the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) headquarters, after talks chaired by Acting Minister of Labour Senator Maxine McClean failed to reach agreement tonight.
This, after McClean told the media that the last in, first out process, which the NUPW and Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) were insisting should have been followed in retrenching 200 workers last month, was not set in stone.
Emerging from talks with representatives of the unions and NCC management at the ministry shortly after 8:30 p.m., McClean contended that Cabinet’s directive of last-in, first-out in retrenchments should not be followed where it compromised programmes at the agencies affected.
She said she would refer the outcome of today’s six-hour meeting to members of the Cabinet at their meeting at ten tomorrow morning.
At that time, the union will also be apprising NCC workers of the developments.
NUPW president Walter Maloney disputed McClean’s interpretation of the Cabinet directive, stressing that that approach was only applicable where there was a shortage of trained personnel in a profession.
“I do not know what they mean that Cabinet’s directive is not written in stone. The issue of last in, first out obviously would have been placed there for a reason and it does not mean that you follow it slavishly,” he insisted.
“If for instance you are working in a particular department where a skill set cannot be found and it is needed within the department, and that person only came to work two years, you are not likely going to ask that person to go off because it is a competency that you need; so there is a difficulty in finding such personnel.
“These are issues that can arise, but the whole notion of last in, first out would have been applied in the Public Service, and what we found interesting was that even when we recognised that there were some anomalies in the way it was done in the Public Service, once we called them up and gave them the evidence, then persons would be recalled. So we are saying that we cannot understand why it is so difficult for the NCC not to follow suit,” Maloney added.
Earlier, the NUPW official said the unions had put a number of issues on the table, but the NCC was not budging.
“What we have decided is that the honourable minister will take back our position to Cabinet tomorrow and hopefully we will be informed by tomorrow evening what is Cabinet’s position,” he said. (NC)