Protests yield results
After staging two days of protests this week, clamouring for the payment of outstanding monies from the Ministry of Environment, former Beautify Barbados workers say they are now satisfied that their plight is finally being taken seriously.
About a dozen placard-bearing ex-employees protested outside the Ministry’s office at Warrens this morning, and were finally able to secure a meeting with top officials.
The protestors, who were among the more than 50 dismissed from the unit back in March, were up in arms about the decision by Government to slash their gratuity from the established 20 per cent to ten per cent.
They also contended that workers who were employed for at least 11 years were due an additional week’s pay for each year dating back to year five of their employment.
The protests were taken independent of their bargaining union, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).
However, the union argues that it is still fighting for the workers.
“We are committed to getting a resolution on the matter. We are awaiting a meeting with the Ministry of Civil Service and the Civil Service is waiting on research and comments from the Ministry of Environment on what was going on before they could proceed with us,” explained Wayne Walrond, senior industrial relations officer at the NUPW.
“I appreciate because the meeting is outstanding the workers are becoming frustrated. But the union would have written since two to three months ago. We are committed to the process of having this matter resolved. We know that responses from some agencies of Government don’t come as speedily as we would like . . . but we are taking action.”
He charged that the action of the Ministry of Environment was a clear case of discrimination.
“Why would you vary these people’s terms downwards and discriminate against them. There’s no policy change by Cabinet. You can’t pick out one set of workers and vary their gratuity; that is wrong. The gratuity replaced their entitlement to pension and severance; you don’t really get severance in the public service, per say, but for terminal pay. So, if there is a rate established you can’t give some workers ten per cent and then turn around and give another set of workers 20 per cent,” Walrond added.
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