BADMC offers voluntary separation packages

The Barbados Agricultural Development and Management Corporation (BADMC) is offering voluntary separation packages as it tries to cut costs and boost productivity.

Acting chief executive officer Glendene Bartlett confirmed to Barbados TODAY that some employees have already indicated their interest in taking the packages.

A letter dated February 2, 2015 and signed by Bartlett was circulated to BADMC workers offering the packages with effect from March 31, April 30, or May 31, 2015. They had until Wednesday to express their interest and Bartlett said “a number of persons” had done so, but she stressed the corporation was not obligated to approve any application.

The correspondence, a copy of which has been obtained by Barbados TODAY, indicated that the compensation would take the form of a loan that would be equivalent to the workers’ gratuity payment.

Explaining the terms, Bartlett said since no one could get pension before the age of 60, the BADMC was offering to give longstanding employees  who “maybe just want to go” the opportunity to get their money early.

“What the corporation has recognized is that there are some workers that are just ambling along, because I guess they are tired. They have been here for more than 25, 30 years and they are just tired, but they are just not to the age of retirement,” she noted.

“What the letter was saying is that we can look at an option . . . It is not binding, but it is something that the staff, management and everybody can look at to see if there was any way that you can be given a loan against your gratuity, and then when you reach that age where you then will be entitled to gratuity, that it is repaid in full.”

Bartlett said the BADMC had to look at all available options if it wanted to boost productivity and cater to the well being of its employees.

However, general secretary of the Unity Trade Union Caswell Franklyn has suggested that the BADMC had misinterpreted the Statutory Boards (Pensions) Act in saying that the corporation could only pay pensions to workers at the age of 60.

“Under the Statutory Boards (Pensions) Act, if a board makes a worker redundant because it is abolishing a post or it is reorganizing the workforce, and workers lose their jobs in that process, they are entitled to receive their pensions at whatever age, provided they have ten years service,” he said.

“If, however, the employee is in receipt of his pension and he has not yet reached age 60, the board can call him out and offer him a comparable job and if he refuses to accept it the board can suspend the pension until he reaches 60, according to Section 27,” Franklyn insisted.

Source: (EJ/NC)

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