Mottley pleased BIDC/NUPW row resolved
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has expressed relief that the acrimonious dispute between the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the state-owned Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) over the forced retirement of 10 employees who had reached the age of 60, had been resolved.
Following weeks of angry exchanges, inflexible stances, industrial action and a workers’ march, the NUPW, along with the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), announced yesterday that the statutory agency had agreed to withdraw the letters and recall the workers.
In welcoming the resolution, Mottley warned the Freundel Stuart administration that it could not pursue a programme of economic redundancy behind the disguise of retirement.
“I am relieved that the Government of Barbados has reversed an ill-advised position of retiring workers who have reached 60 years old at the BIDC and other statutory boards,” she said in a release.
The St Michael North East MP contended that Barbados would benefit only if the Government, as one of the key signatories to the Social Partnership Protocol, recognised and followed the proper process for consultation.
She charged that Government had failed to engage the unions in consultation in the early stages of the dispute, and must now restart the process with the workers’ bargaining agents.
Mottley expressed “regret” that the Prime Minister chose “intemperate and offensive language at a most delicate stage of the impasse” when he led a stinging attack on the leadership of the two unions this week.
In condemning Stuart’s outburst, Mottley said: “To abuse the young leadership of the unions when what was required was a level head and a steady hand, speaks volumes about his level of disconnect from the drumbeat of our society. This could have acted as a major trigger of escalation at a very delicate time.
“Barbadians must be thankful that the leadership of the unions ignored the offence and remained focused on the issue confronting the workers.”
On Monday, Stuart accused the unions of using blackmail and bullying tactics, and compared the leaders to fanatics armed with guns.