The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has been chided in the Senate by the union boss representing its workers for not communicating internally with its employees.
The criticism of the state broadcaster came from Senator Toni Moore, the general secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), which represents unionised CBC workers.
She was speaking as the Senate debated a bill to amend the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation Act introduced by Minister of Broadcasting Senator Lucille Moe.
The amendment bill would abolish the post of general manager and split it between a chief executive officer and a chief operating officer. The bill would give the Minister for broadcasting the sole power to approve and dismiss the two new leadership positions at the public broadcaster. The minister would also have complete authority to approve temporary and permanent staff appointments at the corporation.
The BWU head, whose organisation is currently embroiled in controversy over back pay, said while she supported any changes that would enhance the media house, she had a fundamental issue with management refusing to engage staff.
Senator Moore said: “When one talks about restructuring there are some contemporary terms that come to mind. Terms like employee engagement, terms such as communication.
“Ironic that we would be speaking about a Caribbean broadcasting operation, we would be speaking about improving techonology systems so that we can reach out more to the public, the viewership.
“But it would seem we have not focused on the issues and interests that would speak to our internal publics.”
The trade unionist reminded senators that CBC had recently faced unrest because management did not communicate to workers.
She said: “We don’t have to look too far back. Just a few days ago we had at the CBC a demonstration of sorts, arising out of negotiations where we were discussing a restructuring a year ago and there was agreement reached that there would be some payments made to staff… payments over a 42-month period.
“When it became difficult for those payments to be made in the monthly time frame we recognised that staff wasn’t hearing anything from anybody.
“There was no communication, no internal broadcasting.
“It is only when staff reacted that management started to connect to the fact that maybe we should speak to the people about why they are not seeing their money.”
Senator Moore said a new board was appointed but there had been no dialogue between staff and the management.
She said: “I happen to be aware that after over a year of a new board being in place at CBC that the employees and their representatives have not had a chance to meet with the Board of the CBC… that the employees on their own have not had a meeting with their chairman and this is the second one.
“They didn’t have a meeting with the first one either.
“The union representing those employees has not had a chance to meet with the board but yet we are discussing changes that are impacting people.”
Last Monday, operations at the CBC came to an abrupt halt as unionised workers demanded answers about an unpaid sum of money due to them at the end of October.
Sources at the station told Barbados TODAY the issue surrounded the latest instalment of back pay owed to dozens of workers, which started this April after extended negotiations between the BWU and the CBC.
The situation has reportedly been even more dire for still unemployed ex-workers whose only source of income is the installments.