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NCC workers to stage march on Monday

Employees of the National Conservation Commission will hit the streets on Monday morning, at least those represented by the National Union of Public Workers.

The industrial action follows weeks of protracted negotiations, compounded by yesterday’s no-show by the NCC’s general manager Keith Neblett at the Labour Department for ongoing talks with Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, the Barbados Workers’ Union and NUPW, over the contentious selection of more than 200 retrenched workers.

However, before marching to Government Headquarters on Bay Street, the NUPW will meet with the workers at its Dalkeith Road headquarters.

The BWU has also summoned the NCC staff which it represents to an early morning meeting at its Solidarity House headquarters to update them on the impasse and decide their next step.

General secretary of the NUPW, Dennis Clarke, is describing the union’s action as phase three, without spelling out what that means. Clarke said today he did not like the proposal put forward by the NCC, describing it as an insult to the workers. Byer-Suckoo went to the talks yesterday, armed with the information she had requested from the NCC and had agreed to meet with all the parties then, intending to find a resolution and avert industrial action.

But as the BWU continues to adopt a seemingly more cautious stance on taking industrial action, there are reports of some key members expressing disenchantment that the BWU was not being aggressive enough. BWU assistant general secretary Dwaine Paul continues to insist that the union will not be taking any form of industrial action until it has exhausted the negotiating process, with the intervention of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as a possible final option.

Meanwhile, it remains uncertain how the BWU would respond to any calls from its members after meeting with them on Monday at 7:30 a.m. During these negotiations, both the NUPW and BWU leaders and even Byer-Suckoo had expressed optimism of a settlement. In fact, earlier this week, she told reporters at the end of one round of discussions, that the only way an agreement might not be reached this week, was if something else had happened.

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