Jennifer Thorne was steadfast as she marched through Bridgetown, pushing her three-month-old baby girl in her stroller.
Accompanied by her 22-year-old daughter, the former National Conservation Commission (NCC) worker traversed the entire route of the demonstration led by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).
She told Barbados TODAY she had to stand up for her rights and send a strong message to the authorities.
“I had to come out and march because it’s just my husband working,” said Thorne who was among the almost 200 NCC workers retrenched in April last year.
Troy Nicholls is one of the 80 former employees who are seeking severance rather than fight for reinstatement before the Employment Rights Tribunal.
He said he opted to go that route because the authorities had given him no reason to believe that if reinstated his job would be secure.
“The reinstatement, to me, is just to stop us from marching and stop us from airing our views and our opinions because, as I said, it wouldn’t look [good] knowing that you’re being reinstated only to hear six months later that you’ve been laid off again because all the things they have tried to fix the economy have failed. They told us lies from the beginning, and another lie and another lie until it reached this stage,” Nicholls said.
About a dozen former employees of Beautify Barbados, who were sent home on March 31 last year, took part in the demonstration.
One of them, Erica Brooker-Scott said it has been “rough” for her financially.
“We come out to march for our rights, our monies. We were a part of the Barbados Labour Party [project] so I feel we were [victimized] because we were a BLP project so they just shut us down,” she contended.
Her former colleague, Michael Bruce, was also visibly upset about the situation.
“The only money we were getting was Unemployment [Benefits] and that finished the second week in October and from then nothing has been coming in. I ain’t working nowhere and I got bills to pay so I’m looking to get what is mine,” he said.
Another man who expressed anger at the situation was Randell Gerves.
He said his dismissal from the NCC led to him losing $46,000 he had invested in a property at Coverley.
“I would like back my job. I got my bills to pay and can’t pay my bills. I got two children to send to school. I have people [on me] every minute about owing money but I don’t have the money to pay them. All my savings gone,” Gerves lamented.