Barbados Workers Union general secretary Toni Moore gives an update on talks with management of the Transport Board. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
WORKERS WITH THREE YEARS’ SERVICE or more at the Transport Board could soon be appointed.
This was the first order of business discussed between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the hierarchy of the Board yesterday during a mid-morning meeting, according to BWU general secretary Toni Moore.
“We’ve agreed with the Transport Board that we would look to see where we have employees who have been at the Board for three years or more, and start the process of submitting their names with a view of having them appointed fully,” she said at Solidarity House.
The meeting at BWU headquarters followed strike action by almost 700 workers on Monday, protesting the poor condition of buses; a lack of uniforms, pensions and gratuities; appointments; and safety and security of the workers after one of their own was attacked by a schoolboy earlier this year. It left thousands of commuters stranded across the island.
“There are a number of issues that the workers at the Transport Board are aggrieved over, but what we sought to do is prioritise those issues to start discussions on the ones that are most grievous, and perhaps the ones that are most achievable; the ones that are within our scope to rectify in the shortest possible time,” Moore explained.
“One of those issues relates to appointments. A number of workers expressed the concern that they have been with the Transport Board for over a decade, for instance, and lack job security. Of course that has implications for a lot of other aspects of their lives. So that is one of the issues that we have agreed on a framework of how to pursue it.
“There are a number of issues that relate to the safety and security of workers that we sought to address as well. Our talks today [yesterday] were just a couple hours, but we have agreed on a framework for continuing the discussion over the coming weeks.”
On Monday night, Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley, met with Moore and other members of the BWU and the Transport Board division. After the two-hour meeting, a truce was called, and it was decided workers would be back on the job from yesterday morning.
While the minister was absent from yesterday’s meeting due to the debate of the Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2017 in Parliament, Moore said the meeting was productive, and “from the union’s point of view, we would regard it as a reasonable start to what we anticipate should be productive discussions going forward”.
On Monday night, Lashley had assured the union and members of the Transport Board division there was no intention to privatise the entity and their jobs were safe. (RA)