Striking UCAL workers return to work

Workers at United Commercial Autoworks Limited (UCAL) are back on the job after downing tools on Monday.

Company director and shop steward Richard Newton told Barbados TODAY the workers resumed their duties just after midday, following brief talks between UCAL deputy chairman Hilford Murrell and the Transport Board.

Richard Newton
Richard Newton

“The Transport Board gave us a cheque for $75,000 and they gave us work. Our shift foreman accepted the memos for work so we can’t accept memos for work and then don’t work,” Newton said.

Yesterday, UCAL demanded that the Transport Board committed to a deadline for the payment of $3.7 million to cover operations until the end of the financial year in March.

It also insisted that the Board guaranteed more work for employees.

While their demands were not fully met, Newton said they returned to work in good faith to allow Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley to make good on his promise to ensure the company received the outstanding monies.

“The minister still promised the $3.7 million he spoke about earlier, but he did not give us a date for when that will happen.”

Yesterday, the workers received this week’s wages and Newton said the $75,000 cheque will cover next week’s pay.

In the meantime, the UCAL board is gearing up for critical talks on October 28 to determine the future of the company.

“If we don’t get enough work to sustain our staff, we will have to eventually have a shorter work week or sever some of the staff,” he warned.

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