A representative from a local worker’s union is charging that persons who have worked for a decade in the public sector and were retrenched as a part of the BERT Programme have not received any financial settlement.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers Wayne Walrond said that the way in which workers who have completed a decade in the public service were being treated, was a blatant act of discrimination by Government.
“ If they are saying that these persons working for ten years are not eligible for benefits then it is an act of discrimination. If you have a set of workers that you know are not eligible for termination pay then it is discrimination to send them home knowing full well that you are sending them home without any benefits,” Walrond said, adding that the disenfranchised workers were at their wits’ end.
“Right now you have persons in the NUPW for example with ten years and over who are being threatened by debt collectors, people are at their wits’ end and they do not even have money to get by for a few months,” he said.
Walrond told Barbados TODAY that he did not believe it was the intention of Government to send home persons without their appropriate benefits. Therefore, the union believes that persons with ten years in the public service should not have been sent home and should have received the same benefits as appointed public servants.
In fact, Walrond believes that if Government knew persons with ten years in the public service would have left empty-handed then they should not have been sent home.
“ [They received] no kind of money and they are at their wits’ end. I am saying that if government realizes that there is a technical issue in the law about releasing pension and gratuity before 60 [years-old]. If they know these persons will be affected by that they ought not to have sent them home.[ They should] have ensured that they made some sort of arrangement that they can still get some form of compensation. They cannot have these workers out there waiting. The treasury is not going to touch it unless the pension legislation supports it,” he said,
The Acting General Secretary of the NUPW said that the workers desperately needed to be compensated because workers who worked in the public service for two to nine years had received their compensation while these workers with over ten years had not “received a cent and this is a serious
issue that needs to be corrected,” he told Barbados TODAY.