The island’s main public sector union is questioning the seriousness and commitment of the reconstituted Employment Rights Tribunal in dealing with the plight of the 200 retrenched National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers.
Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Wayne Walrond, told Barbados TODAY it was now exactly a year that the former NCC workers were placed on the breadline without receiving severance and the urgency initially attached to the reappointed tribunal, must now be questioned.
Walrond noted that the new tribunal members had met for the first time in February but no date had yet been announced for hearing of cases to start.
A week ago, chairman of the tribunal Hal Gollop, Q.C. told Barbados TODAY he expected to begin hearing the first three cases, which would include the NCC workers, in about two weeks time.
“One would think that by now, …the case with the NCC workers would be started. One has to question the seriousness and commitment of the tribunal, and the justice the workers would get as it keeps going further and further away… One would have to ask what justice the workers would get if it is prolonged like this here,” the union executive declared.
He said the longer the NCC workers had to wait for their cases to be determined by the tribunal, the more they would suffer financially.
Walrond also noted that while there had been a commitment to pay severance, no date for settlement had been given to the union.
Last Friday, the NUPW issued a statement putting Government on notice that the former NCC workers who qualified for severance must be paid by this past Wednesday. The deadline passed and no known action had been taken.
Acting General Secretary Roslyn Smith had also warned that a date for the tribunal to hear the case must be set before month-end. Smith did not say what alternative action would be taken on that either.