One of Barbados’ best known construction companies has found itself in turmoil after relations with its staff collapsed over a pay dispute, which resulted in dozens of workers storming the private property of the Chief Executive Officer on Tuesday morning.
Barbados TODAY understands that Rotherley Construction Inc. found itself in the undesirable position after failing to pay dozens of weekly paid workers over the past three weeks.
Adding insult to injury was the fact that the disgruntled workers were reportedly laid off early Tuesday morning with no concrete explanation from the company, and without further word from CEO Allan Evelyn on the outstanding monies.
Workers were this morning given the National Insurance ‘Termination of Services/Layoff Certificate’ which indicated that workers would be reemployed in a month, on the 4th of March.
“The company has now laid off a lot of us without any money. So this morning we went up to the boss’ house, his private house . . . but up to now nothing has been solved,” one employee told Barbados TODAY.
“Everybody got green papers . . . they’re now saying that they don’t have any money. So the men were hoping that since it has reached this stage, we would have gotten some money . . . but they have been making promises to give us money and then you are going to the bank and there’s nothing,” he said.
Barbados TODAY understands that the construction company, which previously operated from Warrens, St Michael had recently been moved to the CEO’S Proutes, St Thomas property.
Masons, carpenters and laborers working on the construction of three “massive” three to four-storey buildings near Worthing, Christ Church were reportedly among the discontented workers.
“The workers are disgruntled because the money isn’t coming in. Our families need money and we have loans paying back to the bank,” one worker said.
“So with all of that, nobody feels comfortable. But the men are standing firm even though things are hard,” he added.
However, even in the midst of the industrial action, workers say they had still been unable to secure an audience with CEO Allan Evelyn.
“He isn’t coming out and we think it’s because he’s afraid, because the men are really angry. When I left down there, we still hadn’t seen him,” said one worker after the demonstration.
Over the past three weeks, employees said very little material was provided which, along with a lack of compensation contributed to workers’ unwillingness and inability to work. In the meantime, the company has reportedly hired sub contractors to continue the work.
“We feel betrayed by the company,” said the worker.
When contacted, Dwaine Paul, Deputy General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, which represents the construction workers said he had been assigned to the matter, but was in no position to comment on the developments.
On Tuesday afternoon, Chief Executive Officer, Allan Evelyn said Rotherley was working diligently with union officials and financial institutions to bring the issue to a swift resolution.
“We are working on it to see what is going on . . . it’s an evolving situation so the union has been very supportive, the union has been great, so they know what is going on,” said Evelyn.