The planned merger of Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) and the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) is expected to be completed by the end of next month.
And the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), which represents the workers, is confident there will be no major layoffs, if any at all.
Kim Best, the project manager in the Project Execution Unit at NPC announced the date and promised that the authorities would ensure workers would be given assistance in making the transition.
“We currently have the ad in the paper for the employees’ integration consultancy. . . . This is to help the employees of the two entities cope with the change that is required in order to merge into one organization – because we are going from two different backgrounds. One is a Government-based type of operation whereas the other one is more like a private sector operation. So there will be some changes required,” she explained.
The NPC currently has a 25 per cent stake in the BNOCL, which has more than 100 employees.
When asked by Barbados TODAY to shed additional light on the pending merger and whether it would affect staff numbers, BNOCL General Manager Winton Gibbs declined to comment.
However, NUPW Assistant General Secretary Delcia Burke told Barbados TODAY the union had been kept abreast with the merger plans and she was satisfied there would be no adverse impact on employment levels at NPC.
“We have been notified. This has been going on for a long time. The thing about NPC is that NPC always keeps the union informed,” she said.
“What they have done is that they have let people go by the process of attrition and as people pass away they have not replaced them unless it is absolutely necessary. And they have said that they don’t foresee any loss of jobs at this stage.”
Back in March 2014, Barbados TODAY reported that the two entities were discussing an amalgamation in an effort to streamline costs. That came a year after Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had announced in his 2013 Budget that 18 Government entities were in line for merger or closure.
The BNOCL-NPC merger is going ahead amidst the pending sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) to the Sir Kyffin Simpson-led Sol Group.
The Fair Trading Commission (FTC), in a November 23, 2017 decision, determined that the proposed sale of the BNTCL in its current form was likely to cause “anticompetitive effects”.
However, the FTC said the board indicated that it would be prepared to approve the completion of the transaction if some requirements were met.
The merger of the BNOCL and NPC also comes against the backdrop of calls from various organizations for Government to reform state agencies.
Addressing this morning’s function at the IDB, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator Darcy Boyce did not address the merger. However, he said the new energy efficiency project would help the two entities improve their operations.
“Government, through two of its organizations that do not get any subsidy from the Government . . . will become a major producer of electricity from renewable energy sources,” he said, adding that the two corporations would continue to examine the possibility of producing energy from liquid waste.