The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is accusing the present administration of grossly mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic on the island.
DLP spokesperson on Labour, Courie Cox, said the Government’s answers towards workers in terms of pay arrangements and its dialogue towards the public, have been unacceptable.
“The current mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted numerous knee jerk reactions; the latest being haphazard pay arrangements being afforded to select front line workers,” Cox said in a news release.
“This recent development has further worsened an already untenable situation for countless workers in Barbados, many of whom are continuing to face threats of termination. Staffers from various companies who are in quarantine awaiting delayed results are facing job losses, or are being denied pay for the days away from work due to no fault of their own.
“With the national 9 pm – 5 am curfew, persons are leaving their workplaces late and with limited public transport operating are being forced to walk home in some cases. There needs to be dialogue initiated at the highest level on the behalf of these vulnerable citizens to ensure that their welfare is protected, along with their jobs. Sensible logistics must be instituted which allows adequate time for everyone to get home at night. We repeat our call for access to mental health experts in the workplace where needed,” Cox said.
Cox also said that the proposed hazard pay arrangement for medical workers was simply not enough, as other front-line workers have also been working far beyond the call of duty, since the beginning of the pandemic early in 2020.
“It’s time Government recognises it must step up to the plate and make hazard pay provisions for all others such as police, custodians assigned to quarantine centres, immigration officers, EMTS, nurses and all other workers on the front line,” Cox said.
It simply cannot be available for some workers and not all. The nurses who recently downed tools have made that point clear. They are all exposed and working in similar hazardous environments. What is appalling is the silence and inaction of the workers’ unions that seemingly are only coming to life when the workers protest,” he added.
Cox also accused Minister of Labour, Colin Jordan, and other labour representatives of being silent during this time of uncertainty for workers on the island who have been laid off during the previous months.
“There is also a deafening silence from the Minister of Labour and Barbados Workers’ Union head Toni Moore who both now sit at the same political round table. They have failed the people. Workers in this country are currently traversing over this pandemic ocean on a small branch, accompanied only by the sound of silence of those paid to agitate on their behalf,” he stressed.