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BCC and NUPW dispute before Labour Department

There were marathon talks at the Labour Department this evening as Chief Labour Officer Vincent Burnett was locked in negotiations with the management of the Barbados Community College (BCC) and the top brass of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) for over six hours to settle a contentious dispute over new employment contracts.

Around 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, the BCC team, which included Principal Dr Gladstone Best, Deputy Principal Lindsay Waterman and Deputy Chairman of the board of management Ulric Sealy headed into separate talks with Burnett.

Ahead of the meeting, the BCC management served notice it had referred the dispute to the Labour Department, saying it was having “an adverse effect on both the student and staff population.

“The Management of the College is of the view that once the parties accept that there are management rights and workers’ rights, and utilize the protocols that are in place for grievance handling and disputes settlement, industrial peace and respect will be maintained,” it said in a statement.

One and a half hours later, Burnett moved to chair a joint meeting with the BCC and NUPW represented by its General Secretary Dennis Clarke, President Walter Maloney, Deputy General Secretary Roslyn Smith, Second Vice President Margo Bannister and Senior Industrial Relations Office Wayne Walrond.

Last week, the impasse came to a head after armed police were called in and NUPW officials were locked out of the college.

The union maintains the controversial contracts put its members at a disadvantage and it has been calling for an investigation into the operations of the BCC.

The meeting eventually ended after 9:30 p.m. with progress being reported.

However, talks are set to resume on Monday at 10 a.m. at the Labour Department.

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