The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) has been working closely with state-owned entities to ensure that going forward, any retrenchments in the public service are properly done.
And according to general secretary Toni Moore, those discussions have paid dividends.
Moore told Barbados TODAY that while laying off workers was never an easy thing to do, the union was satisfied with the manner in which the recent retrenchment of workers at the Transport Board and the Rural Development Commission (RDC) was done.
Last Friday, 80 workers at the Transport Board accepted voluntary packages while several workers lost their jobs at the RDC earlier this week.
“Well you’re never satisfied in a layoff situation because a layoff means that people who were gainfully employed are now cut out of employment, although in the case of the Transport Board the people who exited left on voluntary separation and a number of them were keen to accept packages because they have options that they wish to pursue,” Moore explained.
“It’s really nothing to be dissatisfied about there. We have workers as well who went home from the RDC and generally what we have done is where we had issues, where the process was treated to last year, we have worked with the boards of different state-owned enterprises to make sure that we don’t have similar breaches of process committed. From where I sit, there have been no negative comments in that regard.”
During the first wave of Government’s retrenchment exercise last year, unions had expressed dissatisfaction with the way in which some workers were sent home.
It was reported that weeks after being retrenched some workers had still not received the monies owed to them. However, Moore said the necessary procedures had been put in place to ensure that did not occur this time around.
Moore said as had been done with the first set of layoffs at the Transport Board and the retrenchment exercise at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), workers would have to wait between four to six weeks before severance is committed.
She said this was well within the provisions of the law.
“The agreement with Transport Board this time is that the severance will be paid through the National Insurance [Scheme] and the process is that it cannot be paid through National Insurance until the last day of work has been completed,” Moore said.
The BWU general secretary also gave an update on discussions with the Arawak Cement Company.
Last month the company was forced to suspended its planned breathalyser testing for its 100 workers as it had not informed the BWU of the plans.
The union has maintained that testing cannot begin until a number of concerns are settled to its satisfaction.
“Those discussions are ongoing. Our team from the time we heard, unfortunately we learnt about it in the public, but from the time we learnt what was going on, we intervened and we are in the process where we are about to commence negotiations,” Moore said.