THE BARBADOS Workers’ Union (BWU) has threatened to “raise our swords” to save hundreds of jobs at the Transport Board and the National Conservation Commission (NCC).
Union boss Sir Roy Trotman talked of the possibility of protest action during a news conference at the union’s headquarters yesterday afternoon.
This happened after sources close to the negotiations said personnel attached to the Transport Board’s human resources and payroll department had worked through Thursday night to prepare the stage for sending more than 200 employees home yesterday.
The NCC is also preparing to lay off more than 200 workers, sources told the SATURDAY?SUN.
With the BWU’s threatened action, the decision to lay off the workers has now been put on hold pending further talks between the Transport Board and the union next week, informed sources said.
At the news conference, Sir Roy told reporters the BWU “has reason to warn Government that the union considers that both at the NCC and at the Transport Board, the Government’s apparent efforts to stray from the agreed process will lead to union retaliation”.
He said everyone understood lay-offs would have to take place unless Government adopted Minister of Agriculture David Estwick’s alternative economic plan, but there were now reservations about things Government agreed should be considered: voluntary separation, enhanced separation packages and making lay-offs “more palatable”.
Sir Roy told reporters that the Transport Board said it did not have the money required to meet such a programme, and sources close to the talks told the SATURDAY SUN the board was in a dire financial situation.
Reports indicated the talks between the union and the Transport Board have been heated.
Sir Roy said the union had told the NCC and Transport Board directorate that if an industrial battle was what the institutions wanted, the BWU would be forced, “though with reluctance”, to “raise our own swords in defence of our membership”. (TY/TS)