NUPW expects quick decision
IT SHOULD NOT take the Employment Rights’ Tribunal long to see the “unfair” decisions made with regard to the retrenchment of workers at the National Conservation Commission (NCC) and, as such, the National Union of Public Workers’ Union (NUPW) expects a decision to be returned by Friday.
General secretary of the NUPW, Dennis Clarke, made that projection following a just over two-hour closed meeting with NCC workers at the NUPW yesterday. A similar meeting was held at the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) earlier in the morning and finished in time for some workers to make the short trip over to the NUPW for the second meeting.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart intervened in the four-week-old saga between the two representative trade unions and the NCC over the weekend, and following a meeting with all parties and Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer Suckoo on Sunday, Stuart referred the matter to the tribunal.
Given the urgency Stuart attached to the situation, Clarke said he expected the “mechanisms to have the tribunal functioning” to be put in place “without delay”.
“We are hoping that the tribunal will start its work and complete . . . . It is a question of looking at the list of persons who have been retrenched and from there you can see where the unfair decisions were made and that should not take long. So we’re hoping that that is done and workers are re-employed [and] re-engaged and I think we’ll be quite happy with that,” Clarke stated.
Workers were summoned to the NUPW headquarters to be updated on Sunday’s meeting called by Stuart. Tempers flared high before an hour had passed and loud, angry voices were heard as workers vented about their worsening situations since being placed on the breadline.
“We’ve heard a number of complaints from the workers which clearly indicate that we have a lot of work to do with the NCC management and we have a lot of work to do with the terminal benefits that the workers have so far been given. We’re hoping that at the tribunal, that we’ll be able to have that corrected,” Clarke said.
Nine people representing the two unions, the Congress of Trade Union and Staff Associations, the Ministry of Labour, the business community and the legal profession sit on the tribunal.
The meeting also attracted former workers from the Drainage Department who were laid off last December. They were there in solidarity with their counterparts from the NCC, and also to find out the status of the money still owed to them.