A year after getting their walking papers from the National Conservation Commission (NCC), former workers will finally have their case heard by the Employment RightsTribunal (ERT).
Some of the applications made on behalf of the more than 200 dismissed NCC employees will be heard in two weeks, Barbados TODAY has confirmed.
Chairman of the ERT Hal Gollop, QC said the NCC matter is among the first three cases that have been selected by the tribunal to begin hearing later this month.
He did not say what the other two matters were.
Neither could he say the total number of cases to be heard, or the nature of those cases, although he did indicate that some of them were class actions.
Gollop said the nine-member tribunal would meet next Wednesday to examine all the cases.
“We have to categorize them . . . [into] those which are ready for hearing, those that need various documents etcetera, and those that need to go through various processes,” he said.
“So all of these we are looking at to categorize the cases, but we do have some that are ready and we are going to be hearing them in a matter of two weeks.”
He further explained that there were several pre-hearing procedures that had to be performed by the chief labour officer.
“So all of these are things we have to make sure have been followed scrupulously because . . . the tribunal can be the subject of judicial review. So we’ve got to make sure that we do not start before we are ready,” he said.
The NCC workers’ representatives – the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) – have challenged the layoffs at the commission, insisting that the last in, first out policy was ignored when a decision was made on which employees would go home in Government’s retrenchment exercise last year.
The reconstituted ERT held its first meeting at the Ministry of Labour, Warrens Office Complex, on February 13.
In addition to the chairman, Government’s representatives on the tribunal are deputy chairpersons Kathy Ann Hamblin and Ryan Omari Drakes.
The Barbados Employers’ Confederation is represented by Edward Bushell, John Williams and Hartley Richards, while the BWU’s representative is Beverley Beckles.
The two remaining representatives of the labour movement – Frederick Forde and Ulric Sealy – were nominated by the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados.