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BWU: Something had to give

ALEX DOWNES, [email protected]

BWU: Something had to give

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The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) has accepted the taxes announced in the recent Budget as a necessary sacrifice.

Even as they accepted those impositions, general secretary Senator Toni Moore is indicating the union is prepping for possible job losses in the coming months.

Moore made these comments to the Weekend Nation last night following a two-hour meeting at Solidarity House with members from its committees of management.

“A number of taxes have been introduced and the Barbados Workers’ Union never considered that this Budget would have been an easy one to swallow on a number of levels,” Moore said.

“And the context within which the Budget had to be presented, we regarded as one which would call for those kinds of sacrifices. We counterbalanced our approach and our negotiations against a number of considerations,” she added.

The recently sworn-in Independent Senator said the union accepted that for university students tuition fees to be waived, the National Social Responsibility Levy repealed and workers to be spared the adjustments, “something else had to give”.

However, while the union and its members came to grips with this situation, Moore explained there was another hurdle on the horizon.

“The discussions over the last two weeks did not focus on deriving efficiencies from the state-owned enterprises,” Moore said.

“But we understand that as a next step, that (restructuring) is where discussions will be focusing over the next three months or so,” she added.

Despite introducing several taxes in her “mini-Budget” earlier this week, Prime Minister Mia Mottley did not place any workers on breadline.

Moore said it was too early to say what the extent of the impending restructuring would be as they were adamant it would not be simply chopping away at jobs.

Instead, she said their foremost consideration was deriving efficiencies within and across all agencies and departments in the public sector.

“Those are now discussions the [Social] Partnership would look at to see where operational efficiencies can be derived, where wastage can be cut out,” Moore said. (AD)