The lines appear to be crossed between the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and Ministry of Labour over the docking of Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) workers’ pay.
Following a meeting on Tuesday between the NUPW and SSA management, which was chaired by Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, the union’s General Secretary Rosalyn Smith reported that the workers were close to getting back their pay, which was docked following industrial action back in 2015.
“We already know exactly the dates that were docked and we just want to verify that, so in going forward it looks like we will be in a position to close this matter in relation to the SSA workers,” Smith said at the time.
However, in a statement released by the Barbados Government Information Service Thursday evening, Byer-Suckoo said the NUPW had misunderstood the outcome of the recent negotiations.
“We did not agree that workers who participated in a strike would be paid. We did not agree that workers’ pay was docked, because that claim has not been verified. We agreed to look through the information to see whether or not the claim of the NUPW could be verified or refuted,” the minister clarified, adding that “where it is substantiated by the time sheet, supervisors’ logs, attendance records, punch card, etc., that a worker did indeed work and was not paid, that person, in accordance with the law, will be paid”.
Smith could not be reached for comment Thursday evening. However, a source close to the negotiations was adamant that it was not for the NUPW to verify the payroll discrepancies in question.
“We shouldn’t even be getting into that. If a group of workers call in sick, they are entitled to their sick days, you can’t say they were not sick and that they stayed home for another reason,” the source said.
“If the supervisor submitted a pay sheet for X amount of days and management reduce it, they should be telling us why,” the source contended.