Employees of C. O. Williams Construction Company are expected to be back on the job tomorrow, after intense negotiations delivered a long-awaited pay increase to end a strike that began earlier this week.
Minister of Labour and Social Relations Colin Jordan, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Toni Moore and her team and management, this morning sat at the negotiating table to hammer out a deal behind closed doors at the Ministry.
When they emerged almost five hours later, from what was described as cordial talks, Jordan provided details of the lump sum payment that would be paid over two months.
“In the first year of the agreement – so from April 2019 to March 2020 – that period will see a two per cent lump sum payment being paid to the workers. That two per cent lump sum payment will be made in two tranches because we agreed that a company, in making a large payment, has to take its cash flow into consideration. And so, half of that payment will be made at the end of March 2020 and the other half at the end of April 2020,” he explained, adding that it was also agreed the floor for the payment would be $500.
For the second year of the wage deal, workers are in line to benefit from a three per cent pay hike.
“That takes effect from the 1st of April, 2020,” Minister Jordan disclosed.
During protests over the last 48 hours, the C. O. Williams Construction employees claimed they had not received a pay increase in over eight years.
They said they were continuously told by management that the company was in no financial position to facilitate their requests for more money.
Officials said that if allowed to continue, the strike threatened to cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, as several road construction and rehabilitation projects had been halted as a result of the industrial action.