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BWU/BLP dispute referred to Labour Department

The dispute between the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL&P) is headed straight for the Labour Department.

Following a meeting this morning at the union’s Solidarity House headquarters, both sides reported that their impasse over proposed job cuts had been forwarded to the Chief Labour Officer Vincent Burnett for his intervention.

No further details were forthcoming on the talks.

Back in March, the union sought to warn BL&P that its plans to cut staff were in breach of Protocol VI of the Social Partnership, as well as provisions of the Employment Rights Act. However, the company has put the blame on declining sales in a changing market, which is soon to be liberalized and where the switch is already underway from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy as the major source of electricity.

It has therefore been proceeding with its plans to cut staff by month end.

Among the 68 employees, who have opted for early retirement and voluntary separation packages, is former Chief Operating Officer Stephen Worme, who has been a key spokesman for the electricity provider in recent years.

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