Petrol dealers feel short-changed

Participants at the seminar.

Petroleum dealers in Barbados are dissatisfied with some of the provisions of the Holiday With Pay Act and Maternity Leave Regulations.

The managers of the various petrol stations made their feelings known during a presentation and discussion segment of a Labour Management Relations Seminar, which opened this morning at the Warrens offices of the Labour Department.

Its purpose is to address labour laws and employment relations best practices for the benefit of the petroleum sector.

Labour Officer, Pauline Farnum, who made the presentation on labour law and employment relations best practices, told Barbados TODAY that the holidays which are due on terminations, “is a big issue for lots of employers, where they think they are being unfairly treated, having to pay out the holidays with pay even though the employees may owe the company some sort of money”.

“That is something we have discussed within the Labour Department, but to date, there hasn’t been any resolution. So I guess what we can do is put it forward again and see if it can present further discussion,” Farnum added.

The labour officer pointed out, though, that such discussion did not only come from her department, but also involved the Social Partnership of employers and trade unions.

She explained also that employers had difficulty with certain aspects of the law dealing with pregnancy of employees.

“I guess most persons try to maximise the time on the job, not recognising how it is affecting their contract of employment and affecting the work that they are also doing,” she asserted.

“What we do,” Farnum informed, “is encourage employees to make sure they are actually able to perform their duties while they are at work, and if they know that they cannot perform the duties, to have some sort of respect for their contract of employment, taking into consideration the employer and their rights, as well as their [own] rights as employees themselves [and their] responsibilities.”

The labour officer suggested that some employees tend to forget their responsibilities when their pregnancies arise.

During the discussion, petroleum dealers had expressed concern that some of their female workers either did not notify them before being hired of any pregnancy or waited until they were about to go on leave and inform them.

They felt this type of behaviour did not give them sufficient time to make alternative arrangements to fill that employee’s place.

Farnum also told Barbados TODAY that at the end of today’s seminar, recommendations would go to authorities for possible amendments to the labour laws, based on concerns expressed by the petroleum dealers. (EJ)††

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