A waste of time!
That’s how general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Dennis Clarke, today summed up the two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the management of the National Conservation Commission (NCC), which had been called to analyze the official list of severed NCC workers.
However, exiting the meeting at which a delegation from the Barbados Workers’ Union was also present, Clarke also said: “There is nothing to report.
“The management of the NCC did not discuss the list. They just wasted our time for about two and a half hours. I think that it is an insult to the Acting Minister of Labour Senator Maxine McClean and whatever we were trying to do. Therefore, there is nothing to report to her,” Clarke said.
“I guess it is left to the Deputy Chief Labour Officer to speak to the acting minister and see what they can come up with. But I repeat, it was a complete waste of time,” he added.
Expressing similar sentiments, the deputy director of industrial relations at the BWU, Dwaine Paul, said: “The BWU is extremely disappointed that after the efforts of the Acting Minister of Labour Senator Maxine McClean, in terms of putting us on a footing to bring this matter to a resolution, that the NCC has come here today and reneged on every commitment it made in the presence of the minister. So it is up to the Chief Labour Officer to advise the minister, but we have made absolutely no progress today.
He described today’s meeting as “an exercise in frustration”, adding that the next step would be for the unions to report to their principals and for the Deputy Chief Labour Officer to report to the minister.
When pressed on the issue, he said: “We are still on our side trying very hard to hold very hard to what we have committed to in terms of following a process and to ensure that we follow the process in terms of what the steps are.
“The minister convened this session and it was agreed that whatever came out of this meeting was to be delivered to her for her consideration. That is what the Deputy Chief Labour Officer has indicated what he will do and we will abide by what we agreed to.”
Meantime, Barbados TODAY has obtained a copy of the NCC list which includes the names and addresses of persons retrenched as well as those retained by the statutory corporation. The list also includes the posts held, and details the duration of service at the NCC.
An analysis of the information indicates that no consideration was given to the universal labour principle of last in, first out in carrying out the recent layoffs.
In fact, the numbers show an alarming reversal of the principle with an overwhelming number of those kept on the job having served five or fewer years, while all except three of those sent home were on the job six or more years.
The list also shows that more than 100 employees who are still on the job were employed in 2009 or the years after that, with the most recent being hired in 2013 while in excess of 80 of those sent home were employed in 2008 or earlier, reaching back to 2000.
Of the 142 temporary officers retained, at least 80 reside in such districts as Silver Sands, Sayes Court, Parish Land, St Christopher, Fairy Valley and Pegwell Boggs which make up the Christ Church East constituency, which is held by the minister in charge of the NCC, Dr Denis Lowe.
The workers who were retained include six artisans, three caretakers, one assistant accountant, two clerical officers, three drivers, five foremen, 80 general workers, 12 lifeguards, one maid, 20 warders, three watchmen, one security superintendent, one store assistant and two supervisors.
Among those retrenched, were two artisans, four caretakers, two clerical officers, one driver, 56 general workers, nine lifeguards, 13 warders and two watchmen.