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Strike over!

Precision workers back on the job but all still not well at air traffic tower

The six-day strike by more than 40 workers at Precision Packaging Inc is now over, but the air traffic controllers’ dispute remains unsettled following talks today.

  The employees of Precision Packaging returned to their jobs today, after agreement was reached between management of the Lower Estate manufacturing company and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), the workers’ bargaining agent.

These workers are upset over a new shift system management has implemented.

A scene last week at Precision Packaging Inc. where workers were off the job.

  The parties, who met at the Labour Department, emerged after three hours of talks with the news that the company had agreed with the union’s demands to drop off employees close to their homes at the end of the night shift at 11 p.m.

  The disgruntled workers were protesting the company’s transportation policy for employees working on the new shift, which ends an hour later than previously. Labour Officer Yvette Walcott-Dennis chaired today’s talks.

  The BWU’s Senior Industrial Relations Officer Juliette Pollard told Barbados TODAY the two sides will continue discussions on December 5 on other outstanding issues.

Meantime, discussions at the Ministry of International Transport today failed to make headway in the dispute with the air traffic controllers.

Following just over two hours of negotiations, acting BWU Assistant General Secretary Dwaine Paul told Barbados TODAY the union was dissatisfied with the responses from the various Government departments to what he termed the critical situation at the air traffic control department.

Paul said the union’s executive will now meet to determine what form of action it plans to take to bring a speedy resolution to the impasse.

The BWU is demanding settlement of a number of staffing issues, including outstanding appointments. It also wants improvements made to the physical condition of the Tower.

“The Barbados Workers Union is not satisfied with the information presented by the Ministry of International Transport, the Chief Personnel Officer or the Ministry of the Civil Service,” Paul stressed.

“As was impressed upon the Ministry officials today, the situation at the air traffic control [department] is critical and we need such a response from the different departments and we were not given the comfort that the matter would be dealt with as a matter of urgency,” he added.

The BWU official said management did not have any date set for the action items.

“All we are being told by the departments is that they are working on the various things outstanding for the air traffic controllers and we cannot be satisfied with that.

“The BWU is currently discussing the matter internally, and we would have to determine where next we go from here because we are definitely not satisfied with what transpired thus far. The PS [permanent secretary] has indicated that he would like the parties to meet again on the 15th of next month, but that is not confirmed,” Paul added.

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