After close to ten hours of deliberation, the management of the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has backed down from its position on the disputed payment of four increments, which led to a seven-day strike of workers.
In a statement released immediately after today’s marathon talks, chaired by Senator Harry Husbands at the state broadcaster’s office at The Pine, St Michael, CBC’s General Manager Doug Hoyte apologized to members of the BWU for the impasse.
Hoyte acknowledged that an agreement was reached for the payment of the increments “but that there was a genuine misunderstanding on the corporation’s part about the terms and conditions of the payment.
He also explained that both sides had agreed to meet again on Friday to determine how CBC would pay the outstanding differences.
However, speaking to the media tonight, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore said that she was disappointed that the union had to take drastic action for CBC to honour its agreement.
“CBC has accepted the position that we have been advancing all along and the general manager has agreed that a failure to honour that agreement has led to the workers walking off the job last week. Efforts are now being made not to defend the corporation’s position but that efforts would be made over the next 24 hours to come back to report how they plan to honour the agreement that was reached since August,” Moore said.
“It is never a victory when one has to go to the extent of an industrial action and have workers off the job for seven days to prove a point that should not have been in contention in the first place. So I am not so sure I want to use the word victory,” she added, stressing that the success of the industrial action proved that her union, which observed its 76th birthday today, did not enter into disputes lightly.
“The success proves that the executive council of the Barbados Workers’ Union is not an organization that is willy nilly or fly-by-night that makes reckless pronouncements. It is a union that understands the facts and understands its role and we are happy that others who want to see will recognize in studying this impasse that we mean business,” said the BWU boss.
About 50 workers at the state-run radio, television and cable outfit walked off the job last Wednesday over the issue of increments, which dates back to November 2012.
Based on an agreement reached under the chairmanship of Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer Suckoo, unionized CBC workers were expecting that the increments would have been paid across-the-board. However, after receiving their pay packs last week, some workers, who are already at the top of the pay scale, were both surprised and disappointed to learn that they would not be benefiting from the latest pay deal. The strike was escalated on Monday to include workers from the Barbados Water Authority.