General Secretary of the Unity Workers Union Caswell Franklyn has given thumbs down to Government’s attempt to transition the Customs & Excise Department into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA).
And he has blasted other unions for “selling out” their members by encouraging them to agree to the switch.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Franklyn charged that the unions had committed to getting the workers integrated into the BRA with a promise that they would then work out the terms and conditions of their employment.
However, the outspoken trade unionist argued that it was unwise for any worker to sign on to BRA without a clear job description, since that was a breach of Section 13 of the Employment Rights Act.
“The Government has done a bad job with the transitioning of Customs officers to BRA because at this time there are workers who have been working at BRA for over two years without any clear job description. These workers should have taken BRA before the Employment Rights Tribunal, since the transition was ill-conceived,” Franklyn argued.
He contended that the changeover could have been “dead in the water” as far back as July last year when Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler admitted to the workers
that Government could not make the move if they did not sign
on to it.
However, he said, trade unions had given in to the Government’s plan.
“Those unions still persisted in trying to get the workers to go over rather than take instructions from their members. The unions should take instructions from its members, not the other way around,” he argued, adding that it was unfortunate that the unions seemed to have forgotten that their members were their masters and not the Government.
“I think the workers need to stand up to their unions. The workers need to tell the unions they are paying them, so carry out our mandate or else.”
Earlier this month, Acting Head of the Civil Service Sonja Welch announced that the transition to BRA would be completed on October 1.