UCAL employees to discuss outstanding debt with minister of transport
The outcome of a meeting between directors of United Commercial Autoworks Limited (UCAL) and Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley will determine the next course of action for employees who have been on work-to-rule for the last two days.
The Board’s payment of $82,000 out of the $20 million it owes to UCAL was not enough to appease the employees today who insisted they should get all the money they are owed.
Director of UCAL and main spokesman for the workers, Richard Newton, said most of the money handed over today would be used to cover outstanding wages for this week but would not be enough to pay the workers next week.
He said they were hoping to iron out the issue at the 10 a.m. meeting with Lashley at his ministry in the Pine, St Michael.
“The current wage bill is $55,000 and we only have $30,000 left back from our overdraft and we had to look for $42,000 to cover wages for this week. This means that only $40,000 [of the $82,000] remains. It is not enough to pay wages next week. This means that the workers will still be in the same predicament next week,” Newton told Barbados TODAY.
“The workers have decided to take the wages, but they are not returning to work as yet . . . . We will still be off the job pending the outcome of the meeting. Hopefully, Lashley will talk about some money. We are owed back pay money from 2007. We need enough money to pay that back pay. We need enough money to cover our overdraft and we need enough money to run operations to at least December 2014 so that this problem would not arise again. We need a time frame when we will get the remainder of the money owed to us,” he added.
While UCAL’s impasse with the Transport Board will mean that no buses from that statutory body will get the attention of workers, Newton is assuring that private vehicles at the workshop would not be neglected.
Newton told Barbados TODAY that while money talks will feature high on the agenda at tomorrow’s meeting, they will be looking to discuss the future of UCAL once the Transport Board workshops at Weymouth, St Michael and Mangrove, St Philip are completed.
UCAL is an employee-owned and operated business that the Transport Board has contracted to service and repair its vehicles.
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