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Looming showdown at UCAL

The Freundel Stuart administration and the United Commercial Autoworks Ltd (UCAL) appear to be headed for a showdown.

Protesting UCAL workers have vowed to stay off the job pending the payment of outstanding money, while the Minister of Transport Michael Lashley today warned that the Transport Authority will not be held to ransom.

Last month, workers at UCAL took to industrial action until they were satisfied that the Transport Board would pay what is owed to them.

Last month, workers at UCAL took to industrial action until they were satisfied that the Transport Board would pay what was owed to them.

The employees downed tools yesterday over the non payment of an estimated $21 million by Government, complaining this has led to a situation in which they have racked up a $140,000 bill to their suppliers.

“The workers have had enough of what’s going on at UCAL and the broken promises from the minister. Also, there’s no work coming to UCAL. We’re got workers in here sitting down everyday doing nothing. All Transport Board is doing is giving UCAL enough money to pay workers every week,” one worker told Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity.

“Two weeks gone and we haven’t heard anything from the minister. We’ll continue [the work stoppage] until we get we money.”

However, Lashley was upset that workers took the action and was adamant that he would not be drawn into “negotiating in the Press”.

“It’s bad practice to do it and I’m not going to do it,” he insisted.

He did state that while the arrangement would continue for UCAL to repair Transport Board buses, alterations would be made to their current contract.

“I’ve already given an assurance that there would be a relationship between the two, but I’m saying that at the end of the day the traveling public, the taxpayers or the Transport Board will not be held to ransom,” he said.

“In fact, we’ve started to improve quality assurance and in a meeting yesterday with Transport Board [I learnt that] they sent out 15 buses yesterday so no party or any individual will hold the Transport Board to ransom or the traveling public to ransom.”

The minister commended workers at Transport Board for doing a “fairly good job” repairing buses.

The board of directors of UCAL was meeting this evening to discuss the situation and determine their next course of action.

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2 Responses to Looming showdown at UCAL

  1. Tony Waterman October 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Minister Lashley must be looking through Rose Coloured Glasses, These workers have the RIGHT to STRIKE, because they have been Played and LIED to long enough, YOU (The Government) owe these People $21.000.000, and YOU are saying that you will NOT be held to Ransom?????? Excuse ME SIR!!!!!! it is YOU that is holding these WORKERS to Ransom, you have the bull by the Tail, just m,ake sure you don’t get BUTTED.

  2. Rickie Nurse October 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Now if this aint a good enough reason for an island wide shut down, I don’t know what else it’s going to take.

    Not too long ago these very workers had stopped work because of a non payment of money owed to them. Government gave the assurance that the money owed would have been paid in a timely manner.

    Almost six weeks later, we are back at the same juncture with the workers not having been paid. How much longer will WE Bajans continue to accept and tolerate the lies, deception and broken promises from this despicable government? Not a single Member of Parliament from the government side, can be counted upon to speak and tell the truth on any issue and be a man to his word and stand by it.

    This cannot be right under any circumstance when you have workers doing and completing a job, with the expectation of being paid, then given the run around and false promises as to a time that they would’ve receive payment.

    Now to have a Minister of Government telling them and the wider Barbados that they will not be held to ransom, because the workers have decided that until they get the money owed to them, no work will be done.

    Barbados I am telling you with no uncertainty, that nothing short of a complete shut down of this country will bring this farce of a government to it’s knees, not only because they do not know how to solve the issues facing our country, but because most of all, they are abiding the time when they will be eligible for their parliamentary pension. Let’s put a stop to this folly now.


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