NUPW willing to talk to BIDC
The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) President Akanni McDowall said he was willing to meet with the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) as soon as possible to discuss the terms and conditions relating to the future of the ten BIDC employees who were issued letters of dismissal.
The NUPW staged industrial action after several failed attempts to resolve the row.
Following a meeting of the sub-committee of the Social Partnership on Tuesday, the NUPW and its sister trade union, the Barbados Workers Union, announced that the dispute had been settled and that the BIDC had agreed to withdraw the letters.
However the unions’ assertion has been disputed by Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer and the BIDC Chairman Benson Straker, who said the statement did not fully reflect the BIDC’s offer.
But McDowall told Barbados TODAY they would meet with the BIDC “once they write to the persons who were terminated and say the letters no longer stand and that the letters will be retracted”.
“I don’t see why we should try to prolong the situation any longer. The NUPW’s position was clear that we could not sit and negotiate unless the letters were rescinded, and that was the impression that we got. But I’m not sure if there was some miscommunication as it relates to the language being used.
“We sent off a letter to them, they now need to respond to us, and as soon as they respond we’re willing to have the meeting. From the beginning we were trying to make sure that we resolve this issue as quickly as possible; so once they’re available we will make ourselves available and we will try to make sure that we get the best possible conditions for those workers who were terminated by the BIDC board,” he said.
McDowall stated further that as far as he was concerned the dispute has been settled, and he hoped other statutory boards would not terminate employees before consulting their labour representatives.
“I’m willing to go to do whatever I can to make sure those workers are as satisfied as possible and to make sure there is no precedent set in this situation where statutory boards across the service would start to take similar action.
“So I think that statutory boards across Barbados would know right now that no one should really be severed or terminated without consulting the union. If they do that, then we would have to take necessary action to make sure that the process is followed,” he said.