A day after Transport Board drivers staged a disruptive strike, talks aimed at resolving their grievances got off to “a reasonable start” this morning.
General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore told reporters at the union’s Solidarity House headquarters this afternoon that even though the discussions only lasted a couple hours, the parties made some headway.
She singled out the issue of appointments as one of the vexing matters that contributed to yesterday’s strike which forced hundreds commuters, including school children, to make alternative arrangements.
However, she said during today’s meeting, officials agreed on a framework to be pursued with a view to resolving the issue, amid fears among employees with as many as ten years service that they do not enjoy security of tenure.
“A number of workers expressed concern that they have been with the Transport Board for over a decade, for instance, and lacked job security. Of course, that has implications for a number of other aspects of their lives. So that is one of the issues that we have agreed on a framework on how to pursue it,” the union leader said, adding that the BWU would be submitting information to the board on employees with three or more years service with a view to having their status regularized.
Another important issue that was discussed this morning was the safety and security of bus drivers. following recent incidents of violence onboard the state-run buses.
Just last week a secondary schoolboy was stabbed multiple times during a fight onboard a school bus. This came on the heels of last month’s incident in which two secondary schoolboys reportedly hurled rocks at each other, injuring an 1-year-old Princess Margaret schoolboy who was travelling in a bus in the process.
In light of these incidents, the BWU general secretary said security would be among the priority areas for future discussions with the Board’s management.