The Transport Board already has over 20 employees who have indicated an interest in leaving the organization by way of voluntary separation if a package is formally offered.
This was revealed by Chairman of the Board Gregory Nicholls as he sought to clear up any misunderstanding over a recent memo sent to workers, asking those interested in voluntary separation or early retirement, to state their intentions by Friday, November 23.
This morning the chairman told Barbados TODAY that the letter was written because of the number workers who were requesting the option of voluntary separation and early retirement in light of Government’s ongoing restructuring exercise.
“What we did was asked workers to indicate their interest and we did this because over 20 workers approached us asking for this option. So we have not rolled out any packages as yet. This is something, which was discussed with the unions at the level of the Social Partnership, as well as between us [Transport Board] and a delegation from the BWU,” said Nicholls.
Yesterday General Secretary of the BWU Senator Toni Moore told members of the media at the union’s Solidarity headquarters 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 BWU 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 Transport Board chairman made it clear that the letters were no way intended to back workers into a corner. He further explained that the memo was merely meant to determine the numbers of workers interested in this option, so that the actual process of negotiating packages could begin.
“So it is not that we are trying to get people to go home or something in that vein. We are responding to the employees. If the employee says, ‘I want to go home’ then it’s something that we as management have to evaluate. We have to determine if we can afford it for the departments to take a hit with employees retiring voluntarily en masse. If an employee wants to retire, having reached the age of retirement under the provisions of Government, then management cannot stand in their way,” Nicholls explained.
The chairman also revealed that some drivers have indicated an interest in voluntary separation because of concerns for their safety.
“After we met, some of the drivers were totally fed up with the bad treatment that they have received from some members of the traveling public and the recent altercation on the weekend has increased a lot of concerns by drivers for their safety and some of them have told me personally that they want out,” he said.
Nicholls added “It is not a matter where we are putting pressure on anybody for voluntary retirement. It is matter that we will sit down and discuss with the employees and their representatives. We would look at everybody on a case-by-case basis because we are not about unfairing anybody.” [email protected]