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Byer: Unions misrepresented offer

SHERRYLYN TOPPIN, [email protected]

Byer: Unions misrepresented offer

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IN A NEW TWIST, Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer says the island’s two trade unions have misrepresented the offer which was put on the table yesterday.

In a statement issued today, Dr Byer says the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC) had not withdrawn the letters to the ten workers under dispute, nor would they be returning to work.

Further, she said there was an agreement there would be no statement to the media until the final agreement had been hammered out.

However, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) held a joint press conference without informing her, as chairman of the meeting, what decision they had taken.

Dr Byer stated she was clearing the air in the statement below.

The Social Partnership Sub-Committee met on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Labour, Senator Dr Esther Byer Suckoo, to discuss the impasse between the BIDC and the NUPW and provide, according to its Protocol, “a forum whereby through consultation and the exchange of information there can be the betterment of the industrial relations climate”.

After approximately four hours of discussion with the Partners, the BIDC made an offer which the NUPW indicated they would be “prepared to embrace”. The NUPW agreed to discuss the offer with their partners and constituents and advise the Chair of their decision no later than the following day (Wednesday, July 15). It was further agreed that there would be no statement to the media other than general comments by the Chair.

In yet another unprecedented move, the NUPW later gave a press conference without advising either the Chair or the BIDC of its decision. This is regretted as there are now some inconsistencies between the offer the BIDC made and read to the meeting, and the offer the NUPW is reportedly accepting.

The points of the offer made by the BIDC were as follows:

In signalling that they could embrace the proposal the NUPW, like the BIDC, suggested a willingness to compromise in the national interest. The Social Partners were satisfied at that outcome and that the role of the Partnership was reaffirmed.

The offer above was the clear understanding of all parties at the meeting yesterday and as Chair I am setting the record straight as this offer would bind the parties going forward. I await the response of the NUPW after the promised consultation with their constituents.  (PR/SAT)