The country’s largest public sector trade union is calling on Prime Minister Mia Mottley to bring the proof that Government’s restructuring exercise is being sabotaged.
This comes on the same day that the lone Opposition Member of Parliament is suggesting Government should stop finding excuses for what many are describing as a handled poorly retrenchment process.
Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Delcia Burke is contending that such serious allegations of attempts to undermine the already painful process of retrenchment, should be supported by evidence. She further argued that accused persons should be given an opportunity to defend themselves.
“If she [Prime Minister Mottley] knows there is sabotage, and she said that she knows, then she should come out and say. This would give whoever you are accusing a chance to represent themselves,” said Burke.
Burke told Barbados TODAY that her organisation is not in a position to speak to the issue of sabotage; she lamented a large number of mistakes which have occurred in the retrenchment process thus far.
“I must admit that as far as layoffs go, this is the most confusion that I have ever seen. There were certainly a lot of missteps, a lot of things that were supposed to happen did not occur. You had cases of persons sent home by mistake and then brought back. It was lots of confusion so if she [Mottley] says that there is sabotage then I suspect that she has the proof,” said Burke.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Mottley said that the Government’s restructuring exercise was affected by “sabotage”, but served notice that order would be restored.
Reiterating that she was “deeply disappointed” in how the retrenchment exercise was being carried out, she said. There was an element of sabotage in respect to some aspects of it. And I am not blaming anybody, but I am not blind”.
In making the case Mottley revealed “There was a recommendation to lay off some people in the health sector, which I vetoed.
People did not know that I vetoed it because I have been very clear that the basis of the layoffs has to be in areas where we can restructure and repurpose.
“Little did we know, that that recommendation which is nothing more than a recommendation, should find itself circulating on social media, yesterday morning, as a fact. And similarly, there have been one or two other instances that have been brought to my attention in the last 24 hours, where persons acted without the requisite authority. Suffice it to say, fret not thyself, there will be order and accountability in the Government of Barbados,” she said.
But in a statement released this afternoon Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley said: “Government can’t take credit when things go right and shift the blame when they get it wrong.” Atherley also called on Government to identify and deal with the saboteurs.
The Opposition leader stressed that the buck stops with Government, who now have a duty to correct any mistakes.
“There are too many recurring reports of people being unfairly treated in this layoff exercise and too many stories of people being favoured, unjustly and illegally so, over others. We must stop playing with people’s lives.
“I call on the Prime Minister to ensure that there is a proper mechanism in place to manage this already painful process. We are playing with the lives of people – parents and children, people with debt obligations, people who were struggling even before being laid off; and now having to face this nightmare. There must neither be negligence nor callous indifference in the management of this process,” Atherley said.