With 40 displaced workers at Esso Black Rock, St Michael, due to receive their full severance packages this week, businessman Paul Williams is still seething over the sudden termination of his management contract by energy giant Sol.
“If they knew that they were ending the contract they should have given me adequate notice because five or six weeks is not adequate notice for someone who was there for 23 years,” Williams told Barbados TODAY this morning, adding that workers were only given two and a half weeks notice of their terminations.
He also said while the severed employees had been invited to apply for jobs at other Sol owned stations, there were no guarantees that the new management at the Esso Black Rock station would rehire any of them.
“Some of them called up me up to today saying that they had calls from Sol that they would be relocated at some other gas stations [and] when we had the meeting they [the workers] were given sheets to fill out so that they could be put in the system, [but] there is no guarantee that under the new dealership they would get employment, which I believe, is unwise because I have taken over several gas stations and when I do that I take on the full staff because the customers are familiar with workers. So I hope [new management] would keep some of them because if they don’t they are going to lose quite a few customers,” Williams said.
The businessman also described the reaction of the workers to their severance as mixed.
“I have gotten different responses from some, there are those who are just happy to get their severance and go home and rest for a while, others are a bit more anxious about their employment prospects for the future [given] the economic hardship that the country is facing. It might be a little harder for the supervisors, but I try to encourage them to keep trying because they have the experience that most employers want,” he explained.
Barbados TODAY reached out to Sol for comment, but was told that the persons overseeing the transition were unavailable.