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Port awaits word from union on layoffs

The fate of 110 Barbados Port Authority workers still hangs in the  balance as management awaits word from the Barbados Workers Union on a date for commencement of talks on proposed retrenchment.

Following a report in Barbados TODAY this week that the Port was proposing to cut almost a quarter of its workforce in the interest of efficiency.

CEO David Jean-Marie told this paper today, “Nothing has changed. The status remains the same. We are awaiting a date to have the discussions.”

Responding to a letter of invitation for talks on the retrenchment, BWU General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman wrote on April 24 promising that the union would convene meetings of its various committees before replying to the proposal.

Jean-Marie said today “the Port management is ready and anxiously waiting to commence discussions on the rationalisation of the organisation to result in, or to ensure the efficiencies [are met] . . . . We’re hopeful that the talks can be commenced soon and that within a few months we should be able to make some progress”.

“The Port management’s only interest is in establishing an efficient organisation and a productive workforce, and we do not wish to have to increase the tariff of the port in a manner that would be expensive and impact on the prosperity of the country, unnecessarily so,” he said.

“So we are looking at revenue enhancement measures, and we are looking at operational efficiency – including the possible rationalisation of staff.”

The Port is proposing to send home staff from five departments: Marine services, 17;  Engineering Workshop, 20; Maintenance, 20; Terminal Operations Direct, 25; and Terminal Operations Indirect, 28.

Noting that the Port management is engaged with the union in other industrial matters, Jean-Marie said: “We want to have discussions on improving the operational effectiveness of the organisation, and planning for the organisation in the next 20-plus years, the future.”


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