The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is taking a victory lap following the piloting of the Public Service Retrenched Workers Bill 2019 in Parliament yesterday, making it possible for 83 retrenched workers of the Ministry of Transport and Works to receive their gratuity payments before their retirement.
This morning Acting Deputy General Secretary Wayne Waldron told Barbados TODAY that the news had come at a time when many of the workers were at the end of their line.
“The NUPW is extremely happy that the necessary approval has been given to pay these workers advanced payments equivalent to their gratuity. We have been informed that the process is advancing steadily, and workers should get their money within the next couple of weeks. The union was fully aware of the difficult situation that workers faced,” said Waldron, who pointed out that the NUPW bore the brunt of the workers’ rage.
He revealed, “I was on a call-in programme recently and an angry former worker was blaming me for the suffering that they were going through because of the delay. I did not take it personally because I understand that workers will be angry, but I am happy now that there is success. I know that some of them thought that we were not representing them, but we have been always pushing for their rights.”
Back in March, Waldron told Barbados TODAY that the union received confirmation of Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s commitment to advance the gratuities to temporary workers, who were retrenched despite having 10 years’ of continuous service.
The workers had received their walking papers during the first phase of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.
However, yesterday Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn brought the matter to Parliament making provision for the Accountant General to begin making payments to the affected workers from Government’s Consolidated Fund.
This morning Waldron contended that the most recent development on the matter demonstrated the NUPW’s commitment to getting justice for its members.
“At the end of the day this is about the vigorous representation of our workers and now we are at the stage where we have this welcomed news. We see this as a positive step and a victory for the union and our members,” said Waldron.
“This really puts the union in a positive light because the union has come under pressure in this difficult period. It shows that even in an era of austerity, there are things that the union continues to do positively for workers. We are proud of the representation that we have given to these workers and we will continue to fight for all of our workers.”