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BWU, car dealer settle dispute

Trevor Yearwood

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A dispute between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and automobile seller McEnearney Quality Incorporated (MQI) over staff layoffs has been settled.
Word of this came yesterday from the union during a Press conference at its Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St Michael headquarters.
Assistant general secretary of the union, Clifford Mayers, told reporters the two sides had reached an agreement, with MQI cancelling the layoffs.
According to Mayers, MQI wanted to lay off as many as 20 employees and had severed 11 last week before the union intervened.
He said the union had told all those laid off to return to work on Wednesday.
As for the thinking behind the layoffs, Mayers said MQI told the union it had been losing money, hence the need to trim staff and reduce expenditure.
The company was reported to be losing about $400 000 monthly, he told reporters.
BWU general secretary Sir Roy Trotman said McEnearney had had a good history of labour relations. However, recently it had started laying off workers “without discussion” with the union and the Ministry of Labour,  with a view to seeking to justify the plans.
“So we say come, McEnearney, go back to your run-up and come in again and bowl properly. We don’t want to get mixed up in any no-balling arrangements,’ Sir Roy declared, using cricketing terms.
He said the union was promoting the idea of working partnerships with employers as the new way forward “because most employers in Barbados have agreed that this is not the time to lay off people when you are declaring dividends to your shareholders”.
He added: “Something has to be intrinsically wrong with that approach. It speaks to an attitude in Barbados that is foreign to us.”