UCAL gives Wednesday deadline

yvette Best,

Added 29 March 2014


WORKERS OF United Commercial Autoworks LTD (UCAL) have given the Transport Board a Wednesday deadline to pay them outstanding wages – and they are not joking. The visibly upset workers, who withdrew repair services from the Transport Board for two days,  went back to work yesterday morning following a two-and-a-half hour meeting with general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Sir Roy Trotman, who is also chairman of UCAL. Shop steward for the yet to be paid 140 workers, John Jones, said they were giving the board until Wednesday to pay them their money or they would be back off the job and “things will happen again more serious”. Sir Roy said everything they were hearing in relation to the Transport Board suggested that the powers that be “are hell-bent on bringing an end to this experiment in shareholdership”. He said the workers related several stories attributed to highly-placed people in public transport about the marginalisation of UCAL as far as work for the Transport Board was concerned, and the company’s imminent demise. The BWU general secretary said that even though there was a letter from former Minister of Transport and Works John Boyce about things like people going for worksheets to take back work that was assigned to UCAL, there were reports of such as recent as this week. “[It] is provocative and can in fact lead to violence in the workplace,” he warned. He said there were tremors” amongst the workers because of continued non-payment of wages. Sir Roy also said there was no guarantee that the workers could be paid. Among issues being faced by workers was the alleged farming out of work that should be assigned to UCAL to other companies, even though there was a clause in the agreement that UCAL should be given the work first, Sir Roy revealed. Noting that the future of UCAL continued to be under threat, Sir Roy said the company was not getting enough work to be able to keep its workers employed even though there was an agreement with the Transport Board that UCAL should be at work for agreed hours to be able to get the work out in time. While he said the workers had no guarantee of payment, the union boss said he urged them to resume work based on assurances by chairman of the state-owned Transport Board, Anthony Wiltshire, that a letter would be sent to  UCAL’s banks indicating that the master cheque to pay salaries would be honoured. The BWU head said UCAL officials would be looking to have a meeting at the senior levels to ensure that they would not have to endure the statements and threats, which suggest that there was a new dispensation on the horizon that reduced UCAL or took it out of the market entirely. • yvettebest @nationnews.com


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