MP calls on BWU to fight for Transport Board workers
Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Dwight Sutherland, is calling on the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) to use its 2014 annual conference, which begins tomorrow, to discuss the matter of full payment of severance pay for retrenched Transport Board workers.
The St George South MP made the call today in response to the board’s failure to pay the full severance entitlement to 247 workers who were retrenched in March this year.
Sutherland described the decision to pay the former workers in part as “unconscionable and uncaring” and called on the union to step in.
“It is a sad reflection of the performance of the BWU which has preferred to stay silent on this critical matter affecting workers within their bargaining unit. When workers who paid their dues to this union for many years had to show up on their own to represent themselves for what is rightfully theirs, then this leaves a lot to be desired of the union,” he said.
“We also need to hear from Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley and the Board of Management at the Transport Board, having sent home workers, whether or not cuts have been made to the allowances of the management of the Transport Board. These retrenched workers have now become depressed and have descended into hopelessness as a result of Government’s failure to provide them with what is rightfully theirs after toiling long and hard over the years at the board.”
Sutherland contended that the delay in paying full severance to Transport Board workers set a bad precedent for how the Government will dealing with the remaining retrenched workers in other statutory corporations.
The Opposition MP suggested that instead of focusing on a new bus terminal, Lashley should be addressing the plight of the retrenched workers and commuters’ long wait for buses.
“The Minister needs to pay attention to these situations. We need to hear from him and the rest of his Cabinet colleagues on how monies will be raised to pay these workers their severance in full. This Government has made many promises that they cannot keep. Sending home workers and not communicating that they would not receive their severance in full is indeed a travesty,” Sutherland argued.