‘Urgent solutions needed’
The island’s umbrella trade union body wants an urgent meeting of the full Social Partnership with Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart as it points to the economic crisis facing Barbados at this time.
General Secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations, Dennis De Peiza, “strongly believes that urgent solutions are needed, if the slide being experienced in the economy is to be arrested”.
De Peiza said today that CTUSAB had written the Prime Minister last month, calling on him to convene 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,” he added, “would require each Social Partner to specify those actions, approaches, programmes and projects, which they are prepared to introduce, and agree upon, to engender growth in the economy.”
“The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados has long recognised the challenges to the Barbados economy, as it relates to the fiscal deficit and stagnant growth. The congress has called for these twin areas of our economic matrix to be tackled, lest the pillars on which our economy is built, be fatally undermined,” stated the CTUSAB general secretary.
The umbrella trade union organisation said it will continue to monitor the debate on the current state of the economy and the ongoing developments with respect to the regime of layoffs in the public sector and statutory boards.The Freundel Stuart administration has told the country it intended to retrench 3,000 workers by the end of next month, as one means of closing its massive fiscal deficit.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had said in a special statement in Parliament, that salaries and wages were the biggest portion of government expenditure, pointing out that this was unsustainable, when transfers were added.
Later, Prime Minister Stuart told Barbadians that more than 50 cents in every dollar earned by Government went to salaries and wages.
Since the announcement of the layoffs, the National Union of Public Workers and the Barbados Workers Union have been holding talks with Government, including the prime minister and putting alternative proposals to the layoffs on the table.
While some of those proposals, which included early retirement, were considered favourably, workers have however, started to go on the breadline.