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Dozens laid off

…but management holds out hope of rehiring as new projects come on stream.

by Emmanuel Joseph

Workers supporting each other after lay-off notice today.

Workers supporting each other after lay-off notice today.

An estimated 35 workers have been laid off from C.O. Williams Construction Limited.

The employees who were placed on the breadline today, included truck drivers, general workers and some from the workshop. Recently, Executive Chairman of the company, Sir Charles Williams, had told Barbados TODAY, notice was being given to some workers because of a drop in revenue due to a lack of construction jobs.

One of the general workers sent home today, who gave his name only as Christopher, told this newspaper, he saw it coming. Christopher, who initially worked with the company for eight years, then took a five-year break, returned seven months ago.

“I don’t feel bad. I know the company is going through rough times. God is in control,” he asserted.

He also pointed out that he had another job lined up.

Another general worker who was leaving for the final time today, said being laid off was no big thing, considering he only started on the job in October last year.

However, the father of three, did concede having now to look for money to support them. The employee, who preferred not to be named, told Barbados TODAY: “All my life I dreamt about this job. If the Bees (Barbados Labour Party) were in money would be flowing and I would still have my job.”

While the team from this paper was on site at C.O. Williams, employees who were not laid off were heard telling those going home: “We gine miss yuh!” General Manager Neil Weekes he acknowledged the laying off of the workers, but noted that any further terminations would be a last resort. Weekes revealed that his company was now in consultation with the Ministry of Transport and Works with the intention of securing new construction contracts.

“There is a light shinning at the end of the tunnel,” the general manager added.

He explained that the construction firm expected a new building job within the next couple months. He told this newspaper that once that contract discussions were concluded, they intended to rehire as many of the laid off workers as possible.

Weekes also indicated that if business picked up significantly later, the company was likely to re-employ all of those sent home. He said about 600 workers were employed in the construction and quarrying sections of C.O. Williams.

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