Franklyn: No fair play
That’s how Caswell Franklyn, general secretary of the Unity Workers Union, has reacted to the decision by the Barbados Investment Development Corporation (BIDC) to head to the law courts to settle a bitter impasse with the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) over the recent retirement of 13 employees.
Franklyn told Barbados TODAY, “it’s like kicking the cans down the road,” insisting that the statutory body was not playing fair, and workers would suffer.
“I think they [BIDC are] just playing for time. It is basically that, they know that they are wrong.”
He argued that under the law, up until 2004, the company had the power to send home employees after they reached age 60, but this all changed with amendments to the Pensions Act.
Franklyn speculated that it could be several years before the court hears the dispute, and this would work to the corporation’s advantage.
“Our courts are notoriously slow. Who is to say that it wouldn’t take five, six, seven years like a lot of cases that I know?
“The BIDC will be the winner. If it goes to court and it plays out for many years, they won’t have any money to pay out. By the time they are finished in court, the people would have long passed retirement,” he said.
Franklyn suggested the turn of events was unnecessary, and he chided Prime Minister Freundel Stuart for not taking an active role in the matter.
He said while Stuart did not have to mediate the dispute, he could have otherwise prevented it from escalating.
“The Prime minister is a laywer. He knows what the law says; he cannot hide behind the law courts. He knows his Government is wrong. He can tell them stop this foolishness.”
Franklyn added that the NUPW, which has served notice of plans to escalate industrial action, and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) had his full support.
“I am 100 per cent behind them. If they allow the BIDC to trick them I will be cursing them next week.”
The Unity Workers Union boss said that he was also prepared to call out his membership if necessary.