The main public sector trade union wants to meet urgently with the Ministry of the Civil Service to thrash out the administration’s job cut plans for a leaner, more efficient public service.
The National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) call was triggered by instructions to senior civil servants to provide a list of jobs which may be considered “anachronistic or superfluous”.
The instructions are contained in a circular to all permanent secretaries, dated October 9, and issued by the civil service ministry’s Permanent Secretary Alyson Forte under the subject Implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan. A copy of the document was obtained by Barbados TODAY.
“As part of the Government’s plan to modernize and streamline the public service, it is recognized that some jobs which exist within our Ministries and departments, may be considered anachronistic or superfluous to our everyday activities,” he wrote.
“You are therefore requested to provide this Ministry with a list of those jobs since the officers may be better utilized elsewhere in the public service or otherwise,” Forte said, adding that this information must be provided to his ministry no later than October 31.
But following a meeting today with the Social Partnership on the planned retrenchments, NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith expressed concern about the “lack of details” regarding “this very sensitive” issue.
The NUPW is insisting that as the leading public sector union, a process must be followed, she said.
“For this reason, we are requesting an urgent meeting with the Ministry of the Civil Service to properly negotiate all matters relating to the proposed retrenchment. The NUPW has written to the [Head of the] Civil Service to this effect,” he stated.
Smith also reminded the Government that an agreement was made in good faith with the NUPW that all temporary officers with three or more years’ service are to be appointed.
With this in mind, she noted, the process, having already started, must be concluded.
The General Secretary is assuring public servants that the union will continue to “vigorously” represent their interest.
Back in August, Prime Minister Mottley told Barbadians they would be given details of Phases Two and Three of the BERT Plan in the next two weeks.
She also gave an assurance that in any reconstruction exercise, there would not be the thousands of layoffs in the public service, as suggested in figures persistently advocated by former Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell.
“Reconstruction cannot be as the former governor of the Central Bank wants it. This Government is not in that,” Mottley declared.
While speaking on a resolution to approve a salary increase for public servants, the Prime Minister countered “5,000 or 6,000 people are not 5,000 or 6,000 mangoes on a tree to be picked . . . . They are people who have responsibilities to themselves and their families, and I say to you that whatever else is done, the structure of Government has to follow the purpose of Government.”
Mottley acknowledged there would be casualties in the restructuring exercise, but she was adamant the consequences would not be “four or five or six thousand” job losses.