Let’s be more humane
The unions’ umbrella body has denounced the way in which Barbados public servants
are being laid off and has called for a more humane approach, and full disclosure from the
In a statement this evening, the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations
of Barbados (CTUSAB) came out in support of the National Union of Public Workers’
backing of workers, and challenged “the Government to adopt a more humane approach
in effecting layoffs in the Public Service and statutory boards, and for disclosure of
information on the process being used in determining which employees are to be laid off”.
CTUSAB said it was pleased to learn that the Government had finally moved to
observe Article 13 of ILO Convention #158 –– Termination Of Employment
Convention, 1982, which requires that “when the employer contemplates
terminations for reasons of an economic, technological, structural or similar nature,
the employer shall (a) provide the workers’ representatives concerned in good time with relevant
information, including the reasons for the terminations contemplated, the number and categories of
workers likely to be affected and the period over which the terminations are intended to be carried
out; (b) give, in accordance with national law and practice, the workers’ representatives concerned,
as early as possible, an opportunity for consultation on measures to be taken to avert or to minimize
the terminations and measures to mitigate the adverse effects of any terminations on the workers
concerned such as finding alternative employment”.
The union, through its general secretary Dennis DePeiza stated: “The Congress denounces the
practice whereby temporary employees are reportedly being laid off without prior notice being
served. CTUSAB therefore calls upon the Government and its officials to demonstrate a higher
level of transparency in the process, so as to eliminate the fears and incidence of unfair treatment,
victimization and/or discrimination of employees in the Public Service who are holding
The union said given that the Government’s programme of layoffs targeted temporary public
workers, and even though initial assurances were given that those in health, education, defence and
security would not be affected, based on information, it was increasingly concerned that there could
be “a falling away from that assurance”.
“CTUSAB is dismayed that Government continues to engage in ongoing discussions on the issues
of layoffs, and has not included the umbrella body, whose affiliates are all representatives of employees
in various sectors of the Public Service.
“CTUSAB contends that these discussions should have taken place at the level of the Social
Partners of Barbados, and calls on the Government to respect Section 1.3 of Protocol VI, which states:
‘The Social Partners believe that their association in this endeavour should be characterized by a
willingness to pursue a joint approach to the formulation of policies, to the solving of problems, and to
the management of a process of change and social development’,” it said.
The union maintained it would not support the layoffs programme until Government satisfied the
labour movement that it had considered and exhausted all other options in managing the fiscal deficit.
“In addition to the matter of layoffs, CTUSAB is concerned about the foreign exchange earning
capacity of the country, and is of the view that the challenge of stagnant growth must be tackled
simultaneously and with equal or more vigour.
“To this end, the Congress respectfully calls for the convening of an urgent meeting of the full
Social Partnership, to engage in a national dialogue for the purpose of developing a protocol specifically
aimed at Recovery of and Growth in the Barbados economy.
“This protocol would require each Social Partner to specify
those actions, approaches, programmes and projects that they
are prepared to introduce and agree upon to engender growth
in the economy,” the umbrella body said.