Government’s retrenchment programme for 2019 continues on Monday with about 46 workers from the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) going on the breadline.
This revelation came this afternoon from general manager of the state-owned BAMC Leslie Parris, following almost two hours of negotiations with the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) at the company’s Warrens, St Michael headquarters.
“We are talking approximately 42 to 46 persons or in that range. These touch all of the areas of the company’s operations in terms of the members of the BWU. These would include mechanics, drivers and support staff who, given the future of the company, would no longer be required,” Parris disclosed.
He was however quick to point out that field workers would not be touched in the current retrenchment process.
“Let me stress that field workers, those out in the field working daily with the crops, would not be retrenched,” the BAMC boss added.
He explained that if Government were to send home those workers, it would have to invest substantial sums of money in acquiring equipment to replace them.
“We do not consider it prudent at this time to undertake such an investment because the manual labour in the fields is still considered to be more efficient than using equipment,” Parris said.
Turning his attention specifically to today’s meeting with the union, he described it as very productive with general agreement on all areas that were discussed.
“We expect that following a written brief to be vetted by both sides, that the negotiations would now come to a speedy conclusion,” Parris said.
He noted that the two parties would now seek to ensure the numbers discussed were accurate.
Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, deputy general secretary of the BWU Dwaine Paul said that both parties were able to find common ground on a number of outstanding issues regarding the retrenchments.
“Based on the position put by the management and the acceptance by the union, we should be able to move ahead with the restructuring of the company…those further details would be provided by the management as soon as they are ready,” Paul said.
However, he noted that the union was “reasonably” satisfied with the discussions and the proposals put by the BAMC.
“Therefore the plans would be going ahead as soon as the appropriate ministries can conclude what they have to do based on the discussions today,” the union official said.
“In terms of the number of people possibly to be impacted by this exercise…those that are to be retrenched by the organization…not those that volunteer…we are not counting those; but the retrenchment exercise today will impact less than 40 persons,” Paul pointed out.
He said those going home would come from the farms and the factory at Portvale, St James.
Meanwhile, Barbados TODAY understands that several supervisors and managers are being retrenched as well. Reliable sources said while it may not be labeled as retrenchment, the contract of the Portvale Sugar Factory general manager Raphael O’neal has not been renewed.