Trouble appears to be brewing at the Customs and Excise Department.
Reliable sources have told Barbados TODAY the industrial relations climate could take a turn for the worse, if the customs officers do not get a satisfactory response soon to their concerns, before further negotiation on the proposed transition to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA).
Customs officers are demanding an end to what they call “unfair supercession” within the Government department. They are asking that the matter be tackled urgently, as they object to the possibility of contentious appointments continuing under any offer of employment with the BRA.
“For example, clerical officers have been offered acting appointments up to the level of Assistant Comptroller of Customs, which has resulted in a number of senior officers having been unfairly overlooked. No method of assessment has been applied to justify the supercessions giving rise to biased and an unlevel playing field,” one source said.
The Customs officers are also questioning the status of all outstanding appointments since officers have been acting in vacant posts for several years.
These public servants are said to have taken the position that they are not prepared to accept any employment with BRA with the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the employment status.
Sources also report a recent development where senior workers who were in acting positions were put back into their previous posts.
“They believe the action has been taken to frustrate the officers and force them into early retirement as a means of downsizing,” one official said.
When contacted, Acting Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Wayne Walrond said the union was aware of these concerns and was taking steps to deal with them.