Attitudes to laid-off public workers by fellow Barbadians and creditors don’t impress a top Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) official, which, he suggests, are “scapegoating” the newly unemployed.
After a meeting with workers of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) was called off due to insufficient notice, Deputy General Secretary Dwaine Paul charged that the lack of empathy from the public seems to suggest that the retrenched workers caused their undoing.
He argued that Barbadians were blind to the fact these workers were essentially bearing the brunt of pain for the country’s economic recovery.
“I need people to get this very clear: the workers of Barbados who are being impacted by these retrenchment programmes are not workers who have done anything wrong. We have a system which we had to resort to because of what I would call the faults of men. So, we had no other choice but to resort to a system of last-in-first-out. These workers did nothing wrong and they are actually the workers who are now carrying the burden of the nation,” said Paul.
He contended that laid-off workers were being described in the same terms as people who were fired for being unproductive.
“There’s no assessment in any of these decisions about how people perform. The reality is that we do not have any information to judge how people perform. These are people who have been selected by a system that looked simply at the date that they were hired and they have committed no offence in their workplaces or otherwise. So, I would really like people to understand that these workers who are being sacrificed are being sacrificed for every single Bajan on this rock,” he stressed.
The BWU official called on financial institutions to make special allowances for the displaced workers. He also called on citizens to show more concern and compassion for their fellow job-less Barbadians.
“A number of things need to happen as it relates to these workers because they have loans and we need financial sectors to understand that these workers are being sacrificed so that they can continue to make profits. An arrangement should be made for these workers. On the health front, we need to look at maintaining their medical programmes so that they can receive proper health care,” the senior trade unionist noted.