The Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM) expects resolution by the end of next week to an ongoing pension saga which has left over two dozen former Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) workers demanding thousands of dollars owed to them.
Describing the corporation’s alleged “breach” of its pension agreement with nearly 30 laid-off workers as a “dastardly act”, veteran journalist and President of the association Emmanuel Joseph said he had been following the situation with interest and concern.
“I have reached out to a number of Government officials and as we speak, it is my understanding that the matter is likely to be resolved by the end of next week and that every effort is being made by Government authorities to bring this matter to an end once and for all by the end of next week. I am continuing to address the matter to ensure this promise is kept,” Joseph told Barbados TODAY.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate at this stage to say who the officials were, but I can tell you they are people who can make decisions on this matter and who can cause this matter to be resolved.”
As the longstanding ex-workers’ patience ran thin, they opted to go public with the issue after seven months of demands for gratuities and pensions from CBC to be paid through the Insurance Corporation Barbados Limited (ICBL) appeared to be falling on deaf ears.
The workers said they have been continuously informed that the monies could only be disbursed with approval from CBC’s human resources department, who, contrary to the Occupational Pension Benefits Act (OPBA) 2003 Cap 350B, reportedly said the affected workers would have to wait until they reached the age of 60 or 65.
“For any right-thinking person, it is a dastardly act to withhold monies due to people who have put in years of dedicated service along with blood, sweat and tears,” Joseph argued.
“To try to play games with people’s wellbeing and financial situation is certainly inhumane in BARJAM’s opinion and this kind of thing must not be allowed to continue.”
Based on his own investigations, Joseph indicated there was “more in the mortar than the pestle”.
“It is not something that I would say in public, but I can tell you from my investigations, there is more to it than meets the eye,” he said.
Key officials from the ICBL and CBC remain mum on the issue and consequently have not escaped criticism from the workers’ representative.
“It is not good enough for people in authority to be so inconsiderate. Get the matters resolved and stop using technicalities to push a case that really has no foundation. In the future, I would like to see that matters of payment are resolved right up front. It should not be allowed to fester,” he added.
Joseph was adamant BARJAM would remain committed to the cause of the workers and pledged the organisation “would not lie down and play dead.”
“You can bet that BARJAM will ensure justice is done,” he concluded.