CBC reaches agreement with BWU
The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), which represents the Bargaining Unit within the Corporation, have reached agreement on the positions to be made redundant in the process of restructuring CBC. These discussions began on November 2.
When discussions concluded, the Corporation agreed to retain another 5 positions. As a consequence, 104 staff will be leaving the Corporation by November 29, and seven more will be retiring over the next few months. The retrenchment was part of an effort to restructure CBC and transform it into a viable entity.
Over the last ten years the Corporation has accumulated debt in excess of $100 million. Under the terms of the Barbados Government’s Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme, State-Owned Enterprises such as CBC can no longer accumulate debt. There was a choice to either shut down CBC, or attempt to make it a more relevant, viable and self-financing multimedia company fit for the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, retrenchment was a necessary step in that process.
The Board of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation ensured that the retrenchment process was conducted in compliance with the Employment Rights Act, the Severance Payments Act and in accordance with the agreement between the Barbados Government and the Social Partnership, application of the concept of last in, first out (LIFO) in determining redundancies.
Chairman of the Board, Melba Smith, described the process as “painful, but necessary”. She said: “The Board of the Corporation wishes all those exiting the CBC every success for the future, and thanks them for their service. We are acutely aware that this will be a difficult time for them and the Corporation will provide counselling services to help them. For staff who are remaining, counselling services will also be provided to assist them with coping in the new restructured environment, recognising that going forward it would not be “business as usual”.
“We intend to adopt a more participatory style of management, and look forward to working with staff and engaging their representative, the BWU, as required.”
“Finally the Board of the CBC wishes to thank its lead negotiator and Industrial Relations Consultant, John Williams for the excellent way he articulated the position of the Corporation throughout the negotiations, and the Senior Management of the Corporation who provided vital and crucial support. The Board would also particularly wish to express its thanks to the General Secretary, Toni Moore, and its Consultant Sir Roy Trotman of the Barbados Workers Union for ensuring that these difficult but necessary negotiations were concluded in a manner that enhanced the good industrial relations practice in Barbados.” (PR)