Former NCC workers angered by news of Tribunal resignations
The system has failed us!
That was the reaction of former National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers to news today that all but one of nine members of the Employment Rights Tribunal had resigned en masse two weeks ago.
The tribunal, which Government had said was due to meet back in September, was due to hear more than 70 cases, including the controversial dismissal of nearly 200 NCC workers back in April.
The former employees, who have been clamouring for justice and payment of severance, told Barbados TODAY they were upset at this turn of events.
“This is total nonsense. This means a further delay in our severance and packages paid. At this point in time of the year, I’ve heard the cries of a lot of workers and a lot of people who have been displaced throughout the year are crying out because there’s no money and they have their children to feed, they have their bills to pay, their mortgages as well and this is not good,” said an angry Troy Nicholls.
“The system has failed us. This Government has failed us and we need, as a people, to stand up for our rights.”
He said both the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) had also let down the ex-employees.
“If the NUPW does not step forward it’s something that I’m going to do on my own. As far as I know the NUPW has not even notified us as to what is going on since that last meeting so to me they have failed us as well as the BWU so we need, as a people, to put aside our differences and come together on this one issue.”
St George resident Cynthia Ifill, who broke down in tears about the situation during an interview last month, accused the former tribunal members of not having their interest at heart.
“It sounds to me like it’s a waste of time. If they resign now that means they never had our interest at heart. Is it [justice] going to take longer or is it going to happen at all because they will have to look for a whole set of different people now. Is it going to happen? It’s very frustrating because I don’t know where we’re going from here now. Where are we going?” Ifill asked.
A disappointed Barbara Clarke said she, too, was disappointed in the tribunal as well as Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo.
She said she was ready to take to the streets in protest.
“I’m ready to go because this is over eight months now. You’re telling me that the year is going to end and this isn’t going to be solved. It’s unfair to us,” she said heatedly.
“We thought by now that something would happen and the year is going to end and the matter still would not be solved. We were going to march from Queen’s Park to Parliament building but he (Wayne Walrond of the NUPW) said he preferred to write to the finance minister first and see what he said. Today is the 17th of December and the minister has not responded to the letter yet,” Clarke said in frustration.