Top management of the state-run Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and its engineers are caught up in a standoff over the manner in which the latter claim they are being treated by company officials.
And a source close to the issue, has told Barbados TODAY that nothing has gotten better since their bargaining agent – the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) – sent a “warning” letter dated May 20, 2019 to general manager Keithroy Halliday regarding “the degree of psychological battering” to which the engineers are being subjected.
In the correspondence – a copy of which has been obtained by Barbados TODAY – BWU General Secretary Senator Toni Moore told Halliday the water works company should count itself fortunate not to have been severely dislocated by strike action.
“You should note that based on the degree of psychological battering which your engineering staff reported from their meeting with the Minister [of Water Resource Management] on Friday, 3rd May, 2019, there may well have been a fully publicized and gravely embarrassing work stoppage on Monday, 6 May, 2019,” Moore wrote.
The union boss said her organisation met with the workers as it has been trying since February to “bring respect and decency” to the work environment at the water authority.
She informed the BWA GM that the thrust of her strongly-worded letter was intended to identify national interests rather than personal pique or individual departures from acceptable courses of action.
And Moore assured Halliday that the union was not closing the door on their relationship.
“This organisation is still willing to meet with you and fully detail its concerns regarding those hostilities which continue to be a source of tremendous unease among your staff, including Mr Nathan Hart [an engineer] whose treatment still remains an untreated industrial relations abscess poisoning our labour management landscape,” the BWU leader wrote.
Senator Moore told the water company’s general manager that if he continued to seem oblivious to what was going on, it could only be due to his failure to follow his own communications channels.
“The terms of our meeting and our establishment of an acceptable way forward, are clear. Your answer should not be in seeking to coerce or to disarm by using individual approaches. Let this past period be confronted squarely, the issues properly bled and a new way forward embraced. We await your response,” the union boss said.
However, inside sources told Barbados TODAY that up to this afternoon, there had been no response to the letter..
And tonight general manager Halliday said the BWA was not in a position to comment on the issue because they are in discussions with the union.
“Based on what was presented, we are not in a position to comment at this time. As you know, once we are engaging in discussions with the union, we respect those boundaries. So we would not be able to respond at this time,” he told Barbados TODAY. [email protected]