The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is unhappy with the level of transparency from Government as it relates to proposed retrenchment of workers at the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) and the Government Printing Department.
According to the union’s Deputy General Secretary Wayne Walrond, workers have been growing increasingly restless as murmurings of imminent job cuts grow louder while their bargaining agent remains in the dark. This week Walrond sent a stern warning to Government that the NUPW would not “take too kindly” to being informed of the cuts after the fact.
His comments came following a meeting with workers of the National Assistance Board (NAB) at the NUPW, where those workers voiced similar concerns about being kept out of the loop as it relates to their job tenure and matters of occupational safety.
“…We have been hearing unconfirmed reports circulating about the number of persons that are to be affected by the restructuring and retrenchment within those entities. This is something we are taking seriously because we have not had any consultations or negotiations with regards to those entities,” said Walrond.
The senior trade unionist told Barbados TODAY that they have requested an audience with the Ministry of the Civil Service to discuss the concerns. Walrond did not go into details about the numbers being touted for the breadline, noting only that the word on the ground points to cuts being completed by the end of the financial year (end of March).
“After the NUPW received further reports about numbers to be retrenched, we requested an audience with the Ministry of Civil Service to discuss the proposed retrenchment and mergers of these two entities. We expect that before anything is done that we have some preliminary discussions to ensure that all issues are well ventilated. To date, we have no information on how the cuts are to be implemented or the categories of workers that will be affected. We are very concerned to hear about these reports because the union is insisting that it must be involved in the process,” he said.
Since last October GIS was earmarked in phase one of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme. However, this afternoon Walrond told Barbados TODAY that his union has always maintained that the function of the printer and GIS were too important to be amalgamated.
“The union would have expressed the view that the Government printing department should remain as it is in the interest of national security. Government needs to have its own printer for the purpose of printing legislation. We think it is strategic for Government to maintain its own printer. GIS has done an excellent job over the years. It is not a broadcasting service as some people think, it is about research and providing the public accurate information,” he argued.