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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

temporary appointments.”

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.

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