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It’s a lie!

BWU refutes Franklyn’s claims of voluntary separation

Having experienced a dramatic fall in membership over the past eight years, the country’s largest private sector trade union is cutting staff in a cost-saving measure, General Secretary of the rival Unity Workers Union (UWU) Caswell Franklyn has revealed.

Since the onset of the recession in 2008, the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) is said to have seen its membership drop by 28 per cent, falling from approximately 25,000 to about 18,000, dealing a terrible blow to its finances.

UWU General Secretary  Caswell Franklyn

UWU General Secretary Caswell Franklyn

As a result, the union, which has been fighting to protect jobs, is offering voluntary separation packages to 13 employees, sending home nearly 25 per cent of the approximately 55-member staff compliment, according to people familiar with the development.

However, BWU General Secretary Toni Moore has vehemently denied the report, telling Barbados TODAY Thursday evening that “it was not nearly true” that employees were being offered separation packages the staff complement was being reduced.

“We still got all of our staff on the list . . . and nothing about that in the foreseeable future,” Moore said.

Yet Franklyn was adamant that some of the affected workers had contacted his union seeking representation because they were in a peculiar position where their representative was also their employer.

In fact, he was confident that a consultant from New Zealand who had been engaged to undertake a review of the BWU’s operations had recommended making the 13 redundant, but the union had decided to offer separation packages instead.

BWU General Secretary Toni Moore

BWU General Secretary Toni Moore

The outspoken trade unionist said several of the workers were concerned that the voluntary separation packages were being thrust upon them because the BWU did not want to appear to be making workers redundant.

The UWU boss claimed that the BWU had breached the Employment Rights Act when a senior official sent a message to the 13 employees suggesting that they accept the voluntary packages.

Franklyn added that under the Act the employer was obligated to inform the workers’ bargaining agent whenever job cuts were being contemplated, but that the BWU was unable to follow this procedure since the employees’ contracts stipulated that they must be members of the union, which is currently observing its 75th anniversary.

“It is going to be virtually impossible to be employer and the employees’ bargaining agent at the same time. According to the Employment Rights Act, the employer must speak first to the employees’ bargaining agent when lay-offs are contemplated. Under these circumstances, the BWU will have to speak to itself,” Frankly told Barbados TODAY in an interview Thursday morning.

Recalling the industrial dispute last year between the Barbados Light & Power Co and the BWU, Franklyn noted that union officials had pointed that the BL&P’s failure to inform them of plans to cut staff was not only a breach of Protocol VI, but also a violation of the provisions of the Employment Rights Act.

At that time the union had insisted that any correspondence indicating that there were plans to lay off workers must be addressed to the bargaining agent, not the workers themselves.

Franklyn accused the BWU of practicing something it preached against when the management contacted the workers directly to advise of the pending retrenchment.

The UWU leader told Barbados TODAY he was willing to represent the affected workers because he wanted to stop the unions from engaging in questionable practices.

The BWU’s 75th annual delegates conference begins on Saturday, August 27.

3 Responses to It’s a lie!

  1. Brien King
    Brien King August 26, 2016 at 1:34 am

    If what the Uwu states here is true, What a privilege position the Bwu is in, to be your employer and union at the same time. Funny thing is being an employer is, you know what it is to operate at a lost, hence, you would do that which is necessary to remove that lost factor, a lot of what the Bwu would have told other employers in the past, should now take a dose of their own advise. However, realistically speaking, if the employees know what is in the separation package and it is reasonable by calculations according to law, I would accept it and move on. No employer, whether a union or otherwise, don’t have to keep you if it is a lost to them, as no viable business of any sort operates at a lost.

  2. Tony Webster August 26, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Happens in the best of well-regulated families!!
    Remind me, effin you had to choose betwen amputation of a gangrenous toe, or suffer the ultimate, un-avoidable consequences of amputating all things “progressively higher” up the torso….how many seconds would it take you to arrive at a decision?

    In business, as also in the care and feeding of a civilised country/state/populace, it is the corpus en toto that is critical. There will always be anomalies; the “most vulnerable”; those who fall through the cracks; but it is axiomatic – or at least a demonstration of evolution, that the fittest shall survive.

    The alternative is a society/ organism of equal weaklings; all operating at the lowest common denominator. That said, I also confess that when I do meet with certain examples of those hard-pressed, down-and-out (or living right there by the Montefiore Fountain in Whitepark with all his worldly posessions)…or some youngster not yet having met with the “right” opportunity for employment… I cannot but help to extend a helping hand.

    So, the health of the individal depends on the health of the socio-economic whole…and strangely…the health of the whole…depends on the contributions and support and the health ” of each individual!!

    Which brings us to a direectly-related topic, for another day: Why good leaders are essential.

    And I hope The lady gets evahting sorted out, in short order!!

  3. harry turnover August 26, 2016 at 7:25 am

    The Employers who happen to be the BWU should have informed the workers representatives the BWU about the whole episode is what Franklyn is trying to say.
    In essence the BWU should have written a letter to the BWU informing the BWU of any plans to lay off,retrench or make redundant any BWU staff member.
    That is the PROTOCOL and must be adhered to at ALL TIMES because some left hands simply do not know what their right hands are doing…this body don’t speak to that body and ting
    Remember the chicken wing fiasco ?….the Don had to come on Board and let every man,jack know that there was nothing illegal about the importation.


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