Strike won’t solve issues, says Byer
Labour Minister Esther Byer is calling for more consultation between the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), to resolve the impasse over the retirement of 10 workers over age 60.
The union has called out its members for a national strike on Monday, after talks between Minister of Industry Donville Inniss and the NUPW broke down last Wednesday.
But Minister Byer told reporters today she is surprised the situation has reached the level of calling for a national strike.
“There is usually a process for escalation of these matters, and this was dealt with essentially at the domestic level between the BIDC and the NUPW.
“And you know you would have other levels of consultation and negotiation before you get to the level of a national strike or a national protest, and I don’t think that we have endeavoured to exhaust those means before jumping to this,” Byer said.
She stated that protest action will not resolve the matter, and government would welcome an opportunity to meet with both parties for further discussions.
“Bringing workers out to strike… it’s not going to accomplish what the desired effect is,” she insisted.
She does not believe, however, that the impasse is a test of the social partnership, but rather a situation that “speaks to the strength of our society and our social partnership that there is an opportunity that our labour force can feel this is what they need to do”.
The NUPW had called for the letters of termination to be withdrawn, or alternatively, for the workers to be paid until they reach age 67, which the union said was the legal age of retirement.