Strike threat

NHC workers threaten walk out over merger plans

Industrial action is looming at the National Housing Corporation (NHC), with concerns stemming from the proposed merger of the NHC, the Urban Development Commission (UDC) and the Rural Development Commission (RDC) being the straw that is set to break the workers’ backs.

“There have been talks about a merger with the Urban Development Commission and the Rural Development Commission and it seems as a result of that situation . . . that a lot of matters were held in abeyance that affect staff,” Acting Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Wayne Walrond said, adding that everything seemed to be at a standstill at the NHC because of the pending merger.

Walrond told Barbados TODAY the employees were on edge over job security, fearing that the authorities intended to use the planned merger to sever a number of workers.

They held a 30-minute meeting with the union today at the NHC’s Country Road, St Michael headquarters, and threatened to go on strike from as early as the first working day in August should any signs emerge that workers with acting appointments were being put at a disadvantage.

Minister of Housing Denis Kellman , Acting NUPW Assistant General Secretary Wayne Walrond & Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler
Minister of Housing Denis Kellman , Acting NUPW Assistant General Secretary Wayne Walrond & Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Already there are complaints that employees acting in senior positions were either not being compensated or were being overlooked in favour of outsiders when it was time to appoint someone to the position.    

One such case, he said, involved the position of Human Resource Manager in which a member of staff has been acting, but to which someone new is expected to be appointed effective August 1 this year.

According to the union official, workers have threatened to walk off the job immediately following the Crop Over weekend if an outsider is appointed
to the post.   

“Staff feel that the merger is being used to keep everything in abeyance and because of the pending merger workers cannot get their appointments, you cannot be paid for acting,” Walrond told Barbados TODAY.

However, he said the union was aware that funds had been allocated to pay for the acting appointments and warned that the NUPW was ready to take whatever action was necessary in support of the welfare of its members, some of whom had been with the corporation for between 25 and 30 years.

As far back as April 2013, the Democratic Labour Party administration identified statutory boards for restructuring in order to help control spending and allow it to better manage Government’s massive fiscal deficit.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler is on record as saying that while the changes would be done without causing “undue dislocation”, agencies such as the Transport Board, Barbados Water Authority, Sanitation Service Authority and National Conservation Commission would be subjected to “structural reforms”.

Sinckler said then while he was hearing “a lot of comments about the size of Government and all of these things”, under the last Barbados Labour Party administration “a plethora of statutory agencies were created”.

“Invest Barbados, . . . KOMI that runs the Kensington Oval, Needhams that is responsible for Hilton (Hotel), Rural Development Commission, Urban Development Commission, (Commission for) Pan African Affairs, a whole plethora of them each having their own civil establishment, each having their own boards, each having their own director, … each requiring a transfer from the Government,” he stated at the time.

As at 2013 there were 54 statutory corporations in operation here and in announcing the sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) in April this year, Sinckler stressed that Government was keen on carrying out necessary statutory reforms while ensuring the social welfare of citizens was protected.

While delivering the third annual lecture of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) at the Grande Salle on the topic, Transforming Statutory Corporations in Barbados: A focus on FSC’s Development Five Years On, Sinckler said the divestment of the BNTCL was part of the Freundel Stuart administration’s statutory reform programme that involves the amalgamation or sale of Government-owned entities in order to cut costs.

The Barbados Water Authority (BWA), the Sanitation Services Authority (SSA) and the Child Care Board were among those expected to feel the effect of the attempts to cut $1.2 billion in subsidies.

Sinckler said at the time that the administration had engaged the services of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) to examine the major root causes of the financial challenges facing some of these entities.

He said a new governance framework had been established for statutory organizations to ensure greater accountability, self-sufficiency, customer friendliness and financial viability.

nevilleclarke@barbadostoday.bb

5 Responses to Strike threat

  1. dave July 5, 2016 at 6:13 am

    I do not understand why we need CARTAC. We need people from our own culture and not outsiders

    Reply
  2. Leroy July 5, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Hmmm,, im of the opinion now that we should bite the bullet and swing the sickle, do all proposed cuts, reorganisation between now and election time.
    Ive drank bad tasting medicine many times,,and sometimes its best to just gulp it instead of a slow sip.

    Reply
  3. Green Giant July 5, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I’m happy that the minister is placing on record which administration was responsible for the inflating of public dept. When we should have been restructuring our local government spending those responsible were busy creating jobs in the public sector to gain votes. Now they want to tell Barbadians they suddenly have the answer to all our problems.

    When I say both parties are from the same photo copier some people don’t believe. It’s just that they both have their personal cattle to feed, on different farms, but the method or system of feeding is the same. Off the tax payers purse. They reduce spending to divert money to their farm animals. Honestly, look at how many statutory corporations were created each with it’s own stand alone generator during the last administration. Can anyone believe that we have that many 54 corporations in this small country? Now please tell me what cross B L P / D L P madness is this? My challenge to both Ms. Mottley, Mr. Stuart and their gang is to tell us the people why have this occurred, and exactly what are they intending to do about it in the short term. The unions however are also concerned with losing members / power base and not about jobs directly as we have seen they too have political ambitions. I guess we now understand what the term, ” I WANT A PLANTATION, WANT IT AT ANY COST “. really means. If they are feeding their cattle in large numbers, they need a plantation. At election time they reap the benefits by slaughtering the cattle and sharing among their loyal supporters and those who will accept crumbs for their v

    Reply
  4. Green Giant July 5, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I’m happy that the minister is placing on record which administration was responsible for the inflating of public dept. When we should have been restructuring our local government spending those responsible were busy creating jobs in the public sector to gain votes. Now they want to tell Barbadians they suddenly have the answer to all our problems.

    When I say both parties are from the same photo copier some people don’t believe. It’s just that they both have their personal cattle to feed, on different farms, but the method or system of feeding is the same. Off the tax payers purse. They reduce spending to divert money to their farm animals. Honestly, look at how many statutory corporations were created each with it’s own stand alone generator during the last administration. Can anyone believe that we have that many 54 corporations in this small country? Now please tell me what cross B L P / D L P madness is this? My challenge to both Ms. Mottley, Mr. Stuart and their gang is to tell us the people why have this occurred, and exactly what are they intending to do about it in the short term. The unions however are also concerned with losing members / power base and not about jobs directly as we have seen they too have political ambitions. I guess we now understand what the term, ” I WANT A PLANTATION, WANT IT AT ANY COST “. really means. If they are feeding their cattle in large numbers, they need a plantation. At election time they reap the benefits by slaughtering the cattle and sharing among their loyal supporters and those who will accept crumbs for their vote.

    Reply
  5. Bajan boy July 5, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Don’t know why these iliterate and irresponsible people who just try to create and impression don’t desist from these senseless and iliterate rants. Tell me where you find any logic in the Green giant rant,don’t know he comes from. I want to remind Barbados that when Mr. Arthur spoke of the need to cut statutory corporations Freundel Stuart and the same Chris Sinckler came to our nation and said they wanted all and sundry to know that Arthur intended laying off 10 000 and if they were elected they would not send home anyone. Two months after elections they sent home over 3000. The senseless act of trying to put an essential service like Customs under BRA just according to them for the sake of collections is sure ill advised. These guys are so out of touch and have made so many errors simply because they are not the most literate Government is every reason Bajans must get them out for ever.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *