Management of the state-run Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is seeking to clarify its position in light of strike action this week by workers at the island’s lone water provider in support of their colleagues at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
At issue is the matter of increments, with the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), which represents workers at both statutory corporations, accusing Government of reneging on its agreement to issue across-the-board increases in both cases.
However, in a brief statement issued late last night, management of the BWA suggested that the matter was totally above their heads and that the decision was minister Dr David Estwick’s and the board of the water authorityto make.
The BWA, which last met with the BWU on September 19 this year, under the chairmanship of Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, said the two sides had agreed to as much.
“It was recognized that the matter of salary adjustments, particularly for management, has to be dealt with at the level of the parent ministry – the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management – through the authority’s board of directors,” the BWA said.
“This is necessary as the requested salary adjustments fall outside the remit of the BWA,” the statement added.
Back in March 2016, workers at the BWA downed tools for a week over the issue of increments. The standoff came to an end after the BWU struck an undisclosed deal with the BWA management following a six-hour meeting chaired by Byer-Suckoo.
The BWA also said it remained committed to finding a solution in the best interest of its workers, customers, suppliers and the country as a whole.
However, BWU General Secretry Toni Moore told Barbados TODAY last week that just as in negotiations with the CBC, Government had reneged on its promise to the BWA workers as far as the payment of increments was concerned.
“At the present time it is safe to say that this situation has the potential to snowball,” Moore had stated before several workers at the BWA were called out on Monday to join the CBC workers on the picketline.
However, the limited action did not affect the country’s water supply, with the union today suspending all protest action, pending the outcome of its talks with the CBC’s management.