Layoffs are still on the cards at the Massy Group of companies, but there will not be as many as the 176 previously anticipated.
Consultant to the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Sir Roy Trotman made this announcement to reporters today shortly after emerging from a two-hour “useful” meeting with the management of Massy at the union’s headquarters at Solidarity House on Hindsbury Road, St Michael.
He did not say how many would be severed but stated that the workers representative had successfully negotiated a reduction in the number of employees who would lose their jobs. He also indicated that some employees had agreed to voluntary separation.
Sir Roy said the union has scheduled a meeting for Sunday January 17 at 4 p.m. at the union’s headquarters for all workers at Massy home stores and supermarkets to update them on the developments.
“The union will be bringing those workers up to date who volunteered to go. We will discuss with them how their conditions for separation will be worked out. Those who are staying they will also be given the opportunity to discuss with us how we have worked out the formulation and we will also be able to explain how we were able to get the numbers maintained at a level higher than what was originally determined.
“I do not wish to pinpoint the figure, but I would wish to say that we have been able to have discussions regarding the retention of more than half of those who were already signalled by the company as persons who might have to separate. So the discussions today have been useful in that regard, but we are still conscious of the fact that every time a worker involuntarily loses a job, that is a reason for us in
the union to be unhappy,” the former BWU General Secretary said.
The veteran trade unionist also announced that the union’s delegation which was made up of about 20 shop stewards and the management team from Massy would meet tomorrow to discuss other details and that the parties have scheduled another meeting for Monday, January 18 at Solidarity House.
The retired trade unionist reported that talks with the Massy group over the layoffs began during the second half of last year under his chairmanship and he was asked by BWU General Secretary Toni Moore to continue in that capacity.
He lauded the Massy management team for their concern over the public’s reaction to massive layoffs at this time.
“I am pleased to say that Massy has responded to some of the suggestions that we in the union have made and they have looked for other ways where they are losing jobs or where they are shedding jobs to provide for alternative employment,” Sir Roy explained.
It was late September 2015 that Moore confirmed that BWU was in negotiations with Massy following a decision by management to lay off 100 workers and close the Sargeant’s Village, Christ Church outlet.
The confirmation came one day after Barbados TODAY reported that a significant number of Barbadians would be on the breadline as reports surfaced that the Massy Group of companies was planning to close the JBs supermarket, which has been in operation for over 25 years.
Commenting on the imminent closure of the Sargeant Village supermarket, Sir Roy said it would be part of the ongoing discussions between the parties.
“JBs is targeted for closure, but that is not a matter that divides the group. It is a matter of the how, the when and what replaces it. That will be part of the discussions that we are still having,” he said.
The Massy Group currently employs approximately 3 500 people across its operations in Barbados and about 10 000 across its entire group.