Workers at the state-owned Barbados Water Authority (BWA) are close to receiving millions of dollars in back pay, accumulated over the past three years.
In fact, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore is hoping the monies will be disbursed by Christmas.
However, speaking to reporters at the end of the annual general meeting of the BWA’s Workers Division at Solidarity House, Moore said management and the union were yet to meet and agree a timeline for the payments, even though the actual schedule was expected to be settled by the middle of next month.
“This does not mean the money would be paid for Christmas. We still have to meet with management and agree on when we will shake hands on a start of the payment,” Moore emphasized, adding that the calculations were still being worked out to determine the total back pay, which is to be done in tranches. “We are aware that the Barbados Water Authority like a number of statutory boards and Government-owned organizations are operating within a climate of financial constraint and the Barbados Workers’ Union has not ignored that particular reality. But we think that we have been fairly successful in getting the company to recognize the importance of honouring the commitment. We are satisfied that that commitment is there by the company,” she said.
In the absence of an appraisal system, the BWU boss said the union would also be pushing for the enhancement of employees’ salaries and wages by way of increments.
“This is still the fallback system that we are in, because the management of the Water Authority has not yet finalized a performance appraisal system that can be applied,” Moore explained.
Following crippling strike action by workers, an agreement was made last year on the settlement of outstanding backpay, up to the period ending March 31, 2015.
However, the workers have accumulated almost three years of backpay since then with Moore stating today that she was satisfied that there would be no job losses even in the midst of technological changes taking place at the BWA.