BCCI calls for end to go-slow
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) today warned that the continuing go-slow at the island’s ports was hurting the business community and consumers, and it urged unions to return to the bargaining table with the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA).
In a strong statement calling for an end to the impasse, the BCCI cautioned that the action, which began last Friday, could result in Barbadians being made to pay more.
“Our members have indicated that their ability to adequately and efficiently service consumers is currently being compromised by the inordinate time required to clear goods in Customs which is unduly impacting productivity.”
The Chamber further cautioned that the work to rule was having a negative effect on the distributive sector, particularly food and other supplies to the general public.
It added that this “has the potential to derail employment, and the island’s largest foreign exchange earning sector of travel and tourism at a time when the Crop Over festivities are reaching their height.”
Custom officers represented by the National Union of Public Workers Union (NUPW) and the Unity Workers Union (UWU) have charged that they were being coerced by management into signing option forms so they could be absorbed into BRA.
NUPW acting General Secretary Wayne Walrond said the authorities were attempting to intimidate the workers, most notably, temporary employees. He warned that the Customs officers would not sign the forms until the consultative process had been completed.
UWU General Secretary Caswell Franklyn has argued that the Public Service Act, stipulates that an established post should not remain vacant for more than a year, but in the case of Customs, some vacancies had not been filled for more than ten years.
The BCCI stressed that customs officers should return to work while the parties seek a resolution through consultation and negotiation and offered its help.
“The BCCI stands ready to assist in bringing the parties together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome for the