BEC raps Govt on union talks
GOVERNMENT HAS COME in for stinging criticism from the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC) on the way it has been handling consultations regarding the planned retrenchment of over 3 000 public sector workers.
The BEC said yesterday that Government was not only the largest employer, but “hopefully the model employer”, and must be held to the same standards imposed on private sector employers in terms of honouring the provisions of Protocol VI and The Employment Rights Act.
Stating that consultation with all the social partners was a courtesy and that “anything less should be seen as an act of disrespect”, the BEC said in a Press statement that “the recent and ongoing actions of the Government in consulting apparently only with the National Union of Public Workers and the Barbados Workers’ Union to the almost total exclusion of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, the Barbados Private Sector Agency [and] the council of the BEC, represent a major threat to the structure and future functioning of the Social Partnership mechanism”.
It added that any meetings of “arbitrarily selected business organizations with the political leadership” could not be considered as meetings with the total Barbados private sector.
The BEC therefore called for the issue of planned terminations within the public sector to be urgently brought before the full social partners grouping now that another window of opportunity had been created via the two-week delay in the job cuts.
The BEC also noted that, along with its constituent organizations, its ranks comprised leaders and professionals with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to add value and balance to any discussions on restructuring and developing growth strategies.
“These individuals and organizations stand ready to work with the full social partners structure to address the challenges now being faced by the country,” the statement added. (RJ)