THE Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) is distancing itself from a memo sent out to workers of the Barbados Transport Board last Friday, asking those interested in voluntary separation or early retirement to state their intentions by Friday, November 23.
General Secretary of the BWU Toni Moore told members of the media at the union’s Solidarity headquarters tonight that while the correspondence also stated that the BWU had agreed to the proposed packages, this was not the case.
Following a meeting with Transport Board workers, where the memo was one of many issues discussed, Moore made it clear that the Union would never agree to workers opting to go home, without knowing the terms and conditions of the packages.
“The Executive Council of the Barbados Workers Union wishes to distance itself from this approach as it relates to central government, as it relates to statutory corporations. Where there is going to be any agreement that carries the Barbados Workers’ Union’s signature to it, it would be an agreement that specifies to people up front, what they are entitled to, when they will be entitled to it, how it will be paid out to them,” The general secretary assured.
The memo to Transport Board workers, titled voluntary separation, read that further to the meeting of November 1, 2018, between the Board and the BWU, it was agreed that the Board would engage employees in a process of voluntary separation and or early retirement to those persons who have reached the legal retirement age of 60 years, in the first instance.
The letter also stated that in this regard, all interested persons were asked to submit their names on or before Friday November 23, 2018 to the Manager-Human Resources and Marketing.
“While at the national level the Barbados Workers Union does not distance itself from the proposal made to Government that where retrenchment of any kind was being contemplated that voluntary separation should be one of the first steps taken so that you ensure that people who might want to go have the opportunity to express it and can go as opposed to forcing people out who don’t want to go, and who perhaps can’t go because of their financial situation.
“So we are not going to distance ourselves from what has been a good proposal from us that voluntary separation should be considered. But where we have a concern is that we have not discussed with the Transport Board what form that voluntary separation should take, how it should be applied, and the Transport Board has gone ahead, giving the impression that it is final,” Moore said.
The General Secretary argued that management of the Transport Board has not given workers any indication regarding what they would receive if they volunteer to leave their posts.
“And this relates to a memo that would have been sent out from the Head of the Civil Service on Friday last week as well, asking Heads of Departments to entertain voluntary separation with a cut off date of the 23 of November.
“But get this, you fill out an option form to say I want to go and you get the details after. Does that make sense? Would the Barbados Workers’ Union, or anybody in their right mind agree to a situation that would have workers exposed to raising their hands for something and then finding out what they are going to get from it afterwards,” she said.
Meanwhile, President of the BWU Division of the Transport Board Frederick Lovell told Barbados TODAY that the union never entered any agreement with the Transport Board, about asking workers to go home voluntarily.
“So, to have said that the union would have agreed to it, is not factual. We would never agree to something to put our colleagues blindly to accept a pig in a bag. It was distasteful. Workers are left in a quandary as to how they should approach the situation. We cannot allow persons to sign off on anything, not knowing if they are signing their death wish,” Lovell said. (AH)