by Ryan Gilkes
The dispute at the National Conservation Commission (NCC) has been referred to the Employment Rights Tribunal, which will begin reviewing the matter tomorrow.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who made the announcement this afternoon after meeting with representatives of trade unions and the NCC management at Government Headquarters for close to four hours, said the retrenchment issue would be the tribunal’s top priority at this time since “a number of missteps were made in the process.”
Speaking to members of the media on his way into the discussions, NUPW President Walter Maloney had said they were hoping for a speedy resolution to the matter.
“I think that it has dragged on too long. I think that we can find common ground and we are hoping that common sense will prevail,” he told reporters.
For his part, the BWU Assistant General Secretary Dwaine Paul had said that he too wanted the matter to be resolved as quickly as possible.
“The Barbados Workers Union, from the onset of this crisis, we call it that now; we have been seeking to have a resolution to the matter as fast as is possible. We are going into the meeting this morning in hopes that we can come up with a resolution . . . and that is our outlook.
“We are trying to address the situation in accordance with the way the BWU believes the matter should be handled. The matter resulted from a process not being completed and we are of the view that once we are completing that process that a resolution can be found within there,” he said.
He noted that neither the BWU nor the NUPW had been opposed to layoffs within Government and both had been working with other institutions to effect the process.
“We are supposed to be partners in this exercise and we want that partnership to result in a resolution. We do not want to have to resort to other means for resolution, because we believe that one can be found in the process,” Paul said.