BLP ready to defend workers
Government is being warned it will face “action” if it takes a partisan approach to lay offs in the public service.
But Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley has stopped short of saying just what that action will be.
“Any attempt by the Government to use a methodology that does not reflect the best practices of industrial policy in Barbados of ‘last in first out’ will cause the Barbados Labour Party to take whatever action is necessary to defend the workers,” she said.
Mottley issued the caution at a Press conference yesterday as she tore into the mass retrenchment plan for the public service, describing it as “butchery”, “arbitrary” and “heartless”.
She further accused Government of betraying the trust and mandate of Barbadians by reneging on its promise not to lay off workers.
“Nothing said today will change the free fall of the Barbados economy. The latitude and the longitude are the same. The storm is still coming. Today was an arithmetical necessity putting numbers together to prevent the International Monetary Fund from saying internationally what we already know locally,” she said.
“After the minister’s speech, Barbados is no closer to recovery than we were last night nor is recovery even on the table,” she added.
The Opposition Leader noted that the situation is different to that of 1991 when the then Erskine Sandiford administration opted to send home 4,000 public servants and cut the salary of public servants by eight per cent.
According to her, that administration was then able to secure funding from international lending agencies to stabilise the local economy, in contrast to the current government.
“We are playing with serious fire and the country is in crisis. Too many title-carrying individuals remain silent in the country and they now have to open their mouths and be counted. We do not want to hear anymore, the whispers and private communications. We
believe what people are saying in private, they must now say it in public,” Mottley said. The opposition leader said the retrenchment will impact private sector businesses that were anticipating improved sales over the Christmas holidays.
The Barbados Labour Party, which Mottley heads, will on Monday begin seeking meetings with interest groups to discuss the situation.