Opposition Senator and trade unionist Caswell Franklyn says he is being bombarded with complaints from workers whose bosses appear to be using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to take advantage of them.
Franklyn, who indicated that the number of complaints has reached worrying levels, accused employers of lacking compassion and care for their workers.
“I predict that the labour department is going to be quite busy from the calls I had this morning alone, they are going to be quite busy. The employers are having a field day taking advantage of workers,” he told Barbados TODAY.
An outspoken Franklyn said while employees returned to offices and other work settings on Monday May 4, many of them are concerned about their safety and health since the management of their respective workplaces failed to put provisions in place to establish the social distancing protocol.
“I got a call from an institution this morning where they are telling me that the staff don’t have enough space between them. They are telling them come back to work and some of these places cannot afford to allow people to have their information outside of the office because the information is people’s private and financial business. So these people have to go into the office, but management has not made any physical changes to the office,” he said.
Franklyn said he was also worried that workers are being told to quit their jobs and if they oppose, what he has described as, a sudden salary cut without a negotiation process.
The Opposition Senator said he is also receiving complaints that employees are being fired under the guise that businesses have been struggling financially due to the pandemic. However, they are being replaced by employees who have allegedly agreed to do the job for less pay.
“One worker called me twice today because they are telling her to take her holiday and she took the holiday. You can’t do that legally but they did. Now the time for the holiday gone and now they telling her ‘look we will make you redundant or you can work three days, which one you want?’
“There is another one where they ask the staff to take a 25 per cent cut in salary from last month and the girl says she can’t afford a 25 percent cut in salary this month. They told her she is going home,” he said. [email protected]