Eighty-five per cent of retrenchment’s first phase completed
Government has so far cut 1,282 workers out of a planned 1500 as part of its International Monetary Fund (IMF)-backed restructuring programme.
This was revealed to members attending the Social Partnership conference yesterday chaired by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and convened at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC).
One of those stakeholders told Barbados TODAY that 968 employees of that number have been sent home from Central Government and an additional 18 posts are to be frozen or withdrawn, resulting in a savings to Government of 29.1 million per year.
The social partnership meeting was also informed that to date, 314 employees have been placed on the breadline from the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) suggesting that some 200 jobs still remain to be cut to satisfy the 1500 put forward by Government.
A breakdown by the Ministry of the Civil Service is that 101 have gone from the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), 22 from the Rural Development Commission (RDC), 77 from the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), 61 from the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BADMC) and 53 from the Transport Board.
More job cuts are coming to the SOEs from early next year as the restructuring continues, Chairman of the Private Sector Association of Barbados (PSAB) Edward Clarke told Barbados TODAY.
Government officials have already said that large statutory corporations such as the Transport Board and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) will take at least two to three years to complete the restructuring process.
They have conceded that this would mean that come early next year another round of retrenchments will resume including other departments such as the Urban Development Commission (UDC), Gymnasium Limited, the National Sports Council (NSC) and Caves of Barbados.
But in the midst of the pain being caused by these terminations, the private sector has told the Government it will give priority to those laid off workers who have the requisite skills as the sector starts or resume a series of development projects during the coming year.
Chairman of the Private Sector Association of Barbados (PSAB) Edward Clarke said they made the commitment to the Government yesterday during the meeting of the Social Partnership at which Mottley gave an update on the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.
“The commitment of the private sector is that for those people who have been laid off from the Government or will be laid off going forward, they woud certainly be considered for application into any new projects that take place. I know the Minister of Transport and Works has had discussions with the private sector on that and the private sector is committed to doing whatever it can to absorb those people into these projects going forward,” Clarke told Barbados TODAY.
Representing labour in the tripartite talks, the head of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall, described the discussions as meaningful and cordial.
“Concerning the retrenchment process, the officers within the ministry gave us an update on the number of persons that were retrenched from the public service, both in central Government and in SOE’s. The union was able to indicate and address some of the concerns we had with the process,” McDowall said.
The union leader also stated that there was an update on the mitigation unit and plans to be implemented by that unit to assist severed workers.
“Ultimately, we want to ensure that the affected workers could find employment and provide for themselves and their families,”