The recent revelation by Government’s economic advisors that 1,000 Barbadian workers could be on the breadline is within reason, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni Moore has said.
Moore said not only was the move necessary to urgently cut Government expenditure, but that several statutory bodies were bloated because of jobs handed out by the former Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration in the lead up to the May 24 general election.
She told Barbados TODAY on sidelines of the 77th Annual Delegates’ Conference held at Solidarity House this morning: “If we were looking at a headcount exercise alone, a thousand as is being suggested would be a reasonable conclusion when one considers that within the last six to twelve months before the general election, there were a lot of people given positions in Government even though none were available.”
However, she argued that Government’s consideration had to go beyond just the economics of job cuts to factor in the social impact. She therefore urged the Mia Mottley-led administration to first seek to place underutilised human resources in under staffed areas of the public sector.
Noting that the inevitable displacement was unfortunate as Government continues to roll out the phases of its economic recovery plan, Moore explained that her membership understood the reason for the impending cuts.
However, the BWU general secretary has made it clear that her union would insist on the traditional ‘last in first out method’ given the lack of a proper work appraisal within public sector.
“There is no doubt about it that whenever we have to come to a position of deciding within categories that people may have to go that last in first out will to be the consideration because Government has not been very efficient in terms of assessing people in a way that would make any other determination make sense,” Moore explained, even as she acknowledged that the method may not be the best.
“It is unfortunate because when you ‘last in first out’ you generally have a lot of younger people going home. It is a situation where a person definitely may have the skills but where you have a situation where the [previous Government] was reckless in how they engaged these persons. You can’t hope to finish right after you started wrong,” the union leader maintained.
Earlier this week one of Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s key economic advisers assured Barbadians that Government’s planned public sector layoffs would not be in the order of 4,000 workers.
At the same time, there was also a strong indication that if Government were to follow the advice of some 5,000 ordinary Barbadians, as it embarked on the restructuring of state owned enterprises, at least 1,000 workers would be laid off in the first instance.
The results of the online survey were released by Mottley’s advisory team led by Ambassador Dr Clyde Mascoll and other leading economists — Dr Kevin Greenidge, Governor of the Central Bank Cleviston Haynes, Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Ian Carrington and Professor Avinash Persaud, who are also leading the Barbados Economic Recovery Transformation (BERT) plan.