UCAL workers keep tools down
Workers at United Commercial Autoworks Ltd (UCAL) will continue their industrial action tomorrow after not being paid wages and salaries today, but they say they’re agitating for much more – $20 million to be precise.
That’s how much shop steward and director of UCAL, Richard Newton, said the company is owed by the Transport Board.
UCAL employees clocked in at the Weymouth, Roebuck Street workshop by 7 a.m., but they refused to drive a stroke after being told by management that there were no funds to cover their pay.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY as several workers lamented their plight, Newton said managing director of UCAL, Frederick Gittens, had informed the employees they would not be receiving their pay packets because the company had not received any money from the Transport Board.
“This is the third time that the non-payment of wages to UCAL workers has happened. It happened in April this year, and it occurred twice before,” he said.
“This is something more than wages now . . . . We would hope that the workers would show strength until UCAL gets all of its money from the Transport Board. It [would be] better that the Transport Board takes back the workshop and let us get our severance.”
Newton charged that if UCAL continued on the current path, its funds would be depleted as it had to make various tax payments.
He said the Transport Board’s non-payment was making it difficult for UCAL to meet its obligations, apart from paying staff.
“At present we owe about $7 million to Government out of what the Transport Board owes us . . . Transport Board has to pay us the VAT so that we can pay the VAT office. Under these circumstances, the VAT office penalizes UCAL. We are burdened with penalties on VAT and National Insurance,” he said.
Giving details of UCAL’s debt, Newton said UCAL owes the NIS $2,524,142.37; Inland Revenue $612,759.15; VAT $2,827,416.59; Corporation Tax $708,301.33; bank loan $86,479.02; and rental fees to the Transport Board $933,679.54.
He further lamented that while the Transport Board owed UCAL, the statutory board was taking its buses to private garages for repairs.
“If you check you would see that the workshop is empty. Most of the work is going to Quality Care at Searles Plantation Yard, Christ Church, and Trans-Tech at Kendal Hill, Christ Church, and most of the body work is going to L & N Workshop Inc in Cane Garden, St Thomas,” he said.
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