Sugar workers feel mistreated and left out of the loop, while the private cane owners want the millions of dollars Government owes them.
That was the scene yesterday as the country waits to hear when the delayed 2018 sugar harvest will actually begin.
During a meeting at the Barbados Workers’ Union headquarters yesterday morning, the union warned that the harvest might not be a smooth one if the issues affecting workers were not quickly resolved.
The workers, drawn from private sugar plantations as well as those under the Government-owned Barbados Agricultural Management Company, met for two hours to discuss outstanding negotiations on terms and conditions of employment.
Some concerns included a lack of communication between the major stakeholders, poor working facilities and management/staff relations.
BWU deputy general secretary Dwaine Paul said: “Even when the crop does start, we cannot guarantee that the crop would run smoothly should these issues continue to rear their heads . . . . We will not be standing for it in 2018. Sugar workers have had all they can take as it relates to disrespect both by management and the Parliament of Barbados.
“We need to have clear, articulated plans as it relates to what is going to happen . . . . We understand that there is a third player.”
Paul said workers were given about three dates for the start of the crop and though he could not give an official one, he said based on “rumours” circulating, March 26 appeared to be the start date.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Barbados Sugar Industry Limited, Mark Sealy, told Starcom Network private farmers were owed about $8.9 million from last year’s harvest and other incentive monies from 2016. They were also awaiting word from the Barbados Cane Industry Corporation to confirm the price being paid for canes this year. (SB)