New Year hope

Efforts on to rehire former NCC workers amid tribunal delays 

The minister responsible for the National Conservation Commission (NCC) has admitted he is “worried” that it is taking too long for retrenched workers to have their case heard before the Employment Rights Tribunal.

Giving his views on the delay for the first time today, Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe also gave the assurance that he was working on getting some of the 200 former employees back to work in the New Year.

The NCC workers went on the breadline on April 30, as part of Government’s cost-cutting measures and after outcry, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart referred the matter to the tribunal.

However, the body has not yet convened and on December 5, eight of the nine members resigned, saying that the authorities had not provided the basics for hearings to begin.

Lowe told reporters at a media conference today that he was concerned about the long wait.

Minister of Environment Dr Denis Lowe.
Minister of Environment Dr Denis Lowe.

“I am worried in the sense that, perhaps, the process had been protracted,” he said.“As you know, I have committed myself not to speak to the issue because of the fact that it had sought the attention and gained the attention of the tribunal. The tribunal’s involvement was not at the invitation of the NCC, it was at the invitation, in writing, of the representative body, particularly one of the bodies of the workers,” he noted.

“I want the issue to be resolved and the final points of resolution cannot be done until the tribunal adjudicates and makes its final decisions.”

In the meantime, Lowe suggested it might be a happy New Year for some of the retrenched workers.

“My objective is to continue to work to create opportunities where many of those workers can get back to work, get back in gainful employment, perhaps not in the same arrangement as they would have been in the past, but certainly arrangements that would allow them to make a decent and reasonable living,” he assured, although not saying how many would be rehired or how soon.

The minister reiterated that, although painful, the retrenchments were necessary.

“I, perhaps, was one of those persons that felt the greatest level of pain about people having to lose their jobs. My ministry was hit extremely hard. But at the same time I understand why we had to do it,” he added.

Asked what message he would send to the retrenched workers as they entered 2015, the minister replied: “I would have the same word I would have for everybody . . . It is my prayer, my wish, that 2015 would be a prosperous year for all Barbadians and that persons who have struggles of any type, that resolution would be brought to those struggles, whether they are of an earthly nature or of a spiritual nature.”

Meanwhile, the umbrella body for trade unions in Barbados has said it expects the Employment Rights Tribunal to be up and running early next month.

The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) recently told a Press conference that the various unions were in the process of submitting their representatives for the tribunal.

Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Roslyn Smith told Barbados TODAY the union was preparing to meet with retrenched NCC employees to give them an update on the current issues surrounding the new tribunal and the union’s plans going forward. That meeting is set for Friday morning at the NUPW’s headquarters.


5 Responses to New Year hope

  1. Tony Webster January 1, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Amazing. We have right here in our midst, a world’s first: a Honourable Man, who is a walking, talking re-definition of the human attributes of decency, and sincerity, and compassion for his fellow-man. Quick: write-up a memo to the Guniness Book of records…there are several hundred willing folks who will sign to attest to this. His colleague over at Tourism, can turn this to good advantage in attracting hordes of adoring visitors who will patiently queue to meet this shining star…and perhaps leave a li’l “berry” in return for his prayers for their spiritual blessings in 2015.
    I say again…amazing. This guy makes me wonder if the second coming has not already come about.
    I also note a broadcast comment attrbuted to him, and lauding a single sanitation truck that has attended to “50 thousand tons of refuse in a single day”. .??? Sir, there is a slight difference between “tons” and “kilos”… Just as there is between talking…and doing…not to mention…actually achieving.
    Last time: simply amazing.

  2. Pluto Merick January 1, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Cmon, you people at least respect the intelligence of the ordinary bajan man or woman will you. How much more of this Foul poop are you guys willing to feed us?
    During World War II , Germany knowing the end was near had a Ministry of Mis-Information with the sole purpose to distribute propaganda to the downtrodden people, that all was well and they would soon conquer the World. I believe the fellow heading that ministry was a Dr. Gobbelles. Dr. Lowe you seem to have now stepped into his shoes with a perfect fit ( as well as some others).

    People just want you guys to collect the lil garbage, that is all. Forget the theatrics and messages of hope\ wrap self around flags nonsense, just save us from a serious outbreak of some fly bourne or water infestation disease. We already suffering from the effects of Chickungunya and told these pains just the tip of the iceberg.

    Please pretty least can you all do that? Cmon now !

  3. Ms. Bemused January 1, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Dr. Lowe, did I hear you clearly in the news stating that we the tax paying and solid waste tax paying, over taxed to the breaking point Barbadians recieve free garbage collection? Then I want back my $300 n sumting dollars that I paid BRA fa that solid waste mekup tax den…cause if I supposed to be getting it free why I still out $300 sumting. Wanna need to go!!!!!

  4. Mac10 January 1, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    It’s really simple. Your Ministry fired them, your Ministry needs to pay them what is due. The fact that you haven’t is criminal & another reason you should resign.

    April 2014 was when they lost their jobs, to be still waiting nearly A YEAR later is disgraceful.

    Again it is very simple. If you make somebody redundant, you pay them what is due on their last day of work.

    Why is this not standard practice????????

  5. Tony Waterman January 1, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    @Mac 10 !!! “YES” In the Developed World that is STANDARD Practice, in Barbados’s World it is not, yet they always trod out that Garbage about being WORLD CLASS, if they were that, these persons would have had all their DUE Benefits by the end of the Month that they were released, i am SURE that there is a Labour LAW that states something to that effect, but don’t forget these Governments (Both of them) presided over “The Al Barrack Affair” even to the point of a COURT ORDER which has been COMPLETELY ignored. Dr.Lowe is just trying to save face since it is alleged that some or most of those displaced were either from his riding or from close proximity. this is called early Electioneering.


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