Back on the job

UCAL employees resume work after promises of pay

After two days of work-to-rule action, employees of United Commercial Autoworks Limited (UCAL) were back on the job at 3 p.m. today, following an assurance that representation will be made to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to get some of the $20 million owed to them.

In the longer term, the financial situation will be addressed through a new contract that is to be negotiated.

Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley, who made the promise, also assured that Government had no intention of breaking the relationship between the Board and the worker-owned and operated UCAL.

Speaking to the media after a four-hour meeting with chairman of UCAL, Sir Roy Trotman; deputy chairman, Hilford Murrell; Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) delegates; and directors of UCAL at his ministry, Lashley said: “We have come to an agreement that we will look at short-term measures that will ease the pressure off UCAL and the workers and they have agreed to it.”

“It was agreed that we will seek to determine the future relationship between the two parties by way of a new contract. I will be making representation to Cabinet to have some money released to UCAL and, thereafter, there will be future discussions in relation to other monies owing to and due to UCAL,” Lashley said.

The minister explained that although the contract between UCAL and the Transport Board had expired, the two sides were operating on terms that were beneficial to both institutions.

Sir Roy said there was no move to sever the UCAL-Transport Board ties over the dispute.

“We have been given the very clear commitment that it is the ministry’s intention to promote this product, this significant model of worker ownership and worker democracy. The minister has made it his commitment that, provided we are fully committed to ensuring that the matter becomes a successful enterprise, the Government will continue the relationship,” he said.

Sir Roy said that would be “good news to small business people, especially in this company where the worker is the owner and shareholder of the company”.

“The Government has given that commitment and it has said it remains committed to industrial democracy and worker ownership,” the veteran trade unionist said.

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4 Responses to Back on the job

  1. Tony Webster September 27, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Well, it had to happen, eventually: the Bajan version of the “Mexican standoff”. No-one wishes to shoot first; evahbody wishes to keep their guns pointed at the other guys head. No-0ne “wins”. And nothing, absolutely nothing…happens but yaka, yaka, yaka., ad nauseum.
    But evahbody else…like citizens and chump taxpayers…will continue to lose…their tax-dollars, and UCAL families are merely “grist for the mill” …in this year of our Lord, 2014.
    The only “solution” is that God in his wisdom and mercy, will despatch a bolt of lightning, and bop-off all the “yakers” simultaneouusly! Did I say ” lightning”? I really meant “enlightenment”.

  2. Antonio A Antonio
    Antonio A Antonio September 27, 2014 at 6:31 am


  3. Astra September 27, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Less talk more action would be a big surprise in Barbados !!

  4. Patrick Blackman September 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    It is amazing that anyone in their right mind could ever believe that the transport Board could ever make money with the type of system we have there. Take all of those reckless minibuses off the road and have one national transit system. Go and visit some of the major cities in the US, Canada and see how they do things and then come home and make things right.


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