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Regional body backs unions on layoff position

As the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) heads into talks with the Ministry of Civil Service on pending job cuts, the local trade union movement is getting some support from a regional labour body as it fights the case for members.

The Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) says it’s “deeply concerned” about the decision to send home more than 3,000 civil servants between January and March next year – an announcement that came two Fridays ago in Parliament from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.

CCL general secretary Chester Humphrey tells Barbados TODAY that he wants Government to take recommendations which the unions are putting forward to avoid the massive fallout. Sources have indicated that a pay cut across the entire public sector, early retirement and shortened work hours are among the suggestions.

I am hopeful that as the unions meet to talk with the Government, a more creative way could be found,” Humphrey said.

I believe that those recommendations ought to be given good consideration, fruitful consideration, positive consideration because, you see, we are all in this boat together and one-upmanship can’t work; whether it’s one-upmanship on the part of the Government or on the part of the employers it will make the situation worse.

So what we need to do is to have a conversation and an engagement in which all hands are on board,” he added.

Humphrey is also standing behind the unions as they face criticism for how they’re handling the situation.

The CCL chief dismissed charges of the unions “selling out”, saying that it was time to find solutions.


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