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CBB truce with union short-lived

Employees at the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) were back on the job today.

But it was for just a few brief moments as General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Toni Moore pulled her ‘troops’ away from their pens and papers, after talks between CCB management and the union broke down this morning.

CCB employees have been off the job since Friday in protest over the promotion of an intern from a $2500 job to a $4000 job, an amount which makes him better paid than appointed colleagues senior to him.

Employees of the Central Bank of Barbados.

Employees of the Central Bank of Barbados.

Two-and-a-half hours into negotiations that began just after 9 a.m. at the Bank’s Church Village, St Michael headquarters, Moore along with the BWU team of Senior Assistant General Secretary Gabby Scott, Senior Industrial Relations Officer Nancy Solomon, Treasurer Washbrook Bayne, Research Officer Janelle Farley and Executive Assistant Sindy Green exited the building.

They were almost immediately followed by the more than 100 workers who made their way to the exterior of the Frank Collymore Hall where they were briefed by Moore on the latest developments.

Speaking to the media shortly after her exit, Moore said the chief spokesperson for the CBB had not been fully briefed on the workers’ grievances, making it impossible to continue the meeting.

“The meeting didn’t get far. The union was able to present its case, but soon after that it became clear that the chief spokesperson for the bank was not fully briefed on the issue. [It was] a situation that certainly caused some upset to the union delegation because this is not a matter that has been under the bank’s purview only this morning. It is a matter that they ought to have been giving attention to since last Wednesday at least, when it was first raised by the BWU,” the union boss explained.

“We had asked the workers as a sign of good faith to go back into work and take up their stations and take up their various responsibilities while the union and the
bank met.

“But given this situation which has presented itself where the bank clearly is not serious about having this matter resolved in the soonest possible time, the BWU was left with no other choice but to ask the workers to resume their posts on the outside as opposed to being at their respective work stations,” Moore outlined.

She told reporters that workers would remain off the job until a resolution was reached.

And while no date has been set for a new meeting, Moore said she expected the CBB to convene one as quickly as possible.

“There has to be another meeting, because the only way that workers are now going to be able to resume full responsibility is if there is a meeting and if there is a resolution,” she pointed out.

“The situation confronting us is one in which the bank’s management [who were] present at the meeting now have to brief their principals and be briefed by their principals, in order that they can get direction in how we may proceed. In the meantime, we are prepared to wait it out until they are ready to address this issue in a sensible and suitable manner.”

Moore said the bank’s actions not only disregarded the protocols agreed by the two organizations, but also clearly showed a lack of interest by management towards its employees.

She said while no position description had been forwarded to the BWU, there was an incumbent in that temporary position, a position that should have been advertised within the bargaining unit first and then externally if no suitable applicants were found.

“The bank has not been able to address that issue up until now, and until they are able to do so we will remain outside.

“I understand this as a clear situation of unpreparedness, a clear situation that there is a management, like many other employers out there, who don’t understand that workers are serious when they say they are serious. And maybe this is one instance in which the CCB is being taught the lesson, and there are other employers who we expect will be taught similar lessons in the weeks to come,” Moore stated.

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