Employment Rights Tribunal’s hearing delayed

There has been a delay in the start of the Employment Rights Tribunal’s hearing of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) dispute and it is now uncertain how long the body will take to complete its work.

The process has been affected by issues relating to the legal counsel of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), according to assistant general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Delcia Burke.

She said while the union was concerned about how the BWU’s absence would affect the proceedings, it was assured this would not affect NCC workers who were represented by the NUPW.

BWU officials could not be reached for comment.

This afternoon, representatives of the NUPW and the management of the NCC met with the members of the Employment Rights Tribunal for one and a half hours at the Labour Department to discuss the terms of reference.

Speaking after the talks, Burke said she was a little bit concerned that the entire process would take longer than anticipated.

However, she said she was “satisfied” with the terms of reference.

“We are looking at the way forward. We should meet again probably the next two [to] three weeks to thrash out the matters,” she said.

NCC general manager Keith Neblett said he too was happy with the meeting and would abide by the ruling of the tribunal.

“We’ve agreed with both unions that it goes to the Employment Rights Tribunal, and I think what was dealt with this afternoon was a whole set of administrative matters, and I think the way it is going will work. Everybody will have their say and I think the independent body will have the jurisdiction to make that decision and we will follow whatever the decision is,” he stated.

The impasse at the NCC centres around the retrenchment of 200 workers and questions surrounding the use of the last in, first out policy.

The recent intervention by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart caused unions to put a hold on heightened industrial action.

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