Inniss laments the fact that striking officers are getting full pay.

by Marlon Madden

Outspoken Government Minister Donville Inniss has taken issue with the fact that protesting Customs officers, who have been engaged in a costly go-slow since May, are still guaranteed their full pay.

In strongly condemning the action by the group of Government-paid workers, Inniss said he was particularly concerned that the Customs officers did not seem to be bothered about the negative consequences of their actions.

“Whenever we have these industrial issues of such magnitude, and workers in the public sector in particular take this kind of action, they do it knowing full well that it will put additional pressure on the state,” he said.

“But the thing that saddens me is that these folks who take industrial action invariably get their pay cheques on time . . . but there seem to be very little regard for the people in the private sector, for example, who may lose their jobs or lose income . . . because they are not able to get supplies in to operate their own business.

“ . . . those are the people that I worry the most about. [However], the public officers are going to get paid and get paid on time and they are going to get the full amount,” he stressed.

Speaking to reporters against the backdrop of complaints from several businesses that the go-slow was taking a toll on their operations, and had already resulted in the shortage of a number of products, he acknowledged that “people would have bought items in preparation for the Crop Over season, for any increase in tourism [activities] during this particular summer season; for the back-to-school supplies; and of course for the natural replenishment of food items, including perishable items,” adding that the clearing of non-perishable items appears to be an even bigger issue.

To make matters worse, several businesses have reported since last week that duties were being incorrectly added to goods of CARICOM origin, which are supposed to enter the country duty free.

Today, the Executive Director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Lisa Gale also weighed in on the situation, revealing that the Chamber had already dispatched a letter to Inniss outlining these concerns.

Gale said the Chamber’s letter was also sent to the Acting Comptroller of Customs Annette Weekes, the Commissioner of the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) Margaret Sivers, as well as management of the Barbados Port Inc., in the hope of having a speedy resolution to the problems.

“We have [also] spoken to persons at Veconintor, the entity which does the charges for demurrage. We have asked them for some leniency; we have also asked the Barbados Port authorities for some leniency and they have committed to assist, given this challenging time that is going on, as it relates to the Customs go-slow,” added Gale.

The BCCI spokeswoman said while she was not being insensitive to the Customs officers, businesses were now “significantly constrained” due to fact that some companies “have several containers in the Port and [have] not been able to get them out with the speed with which they have been accustomed”.

3 Responses to SAD STATE!

  1. jrsmith July 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    This go slow looks silly , they have no legs to stand on, the unions need to engage they brains ,get this silly matter resolve and stop hurting our island. to me this matter should never have escalated to this , blame the unions for lack of sensible insight.

    They can all be dismissed, I would have thought ,the issues would have been a matter of weekly time and wages, what the hell is the difference, moving from one government department to the other. YOU PEOPLE SHOULD GET BACK TO WORK AND AND LOOK AT THE LOGIC SURROUNDING WHAT EVER THE ISSUES MIGHT BE, STOP KILLING OUR ISLAND.

    Please be aware, bajans all politicians are not doing anything to resolve any issues in Barbados which involves union members
    to them it doesn’t matter they are the one come wind or rain ,they are being paid.

  2. harry turnover July 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Go slow with their pay., that is all you have to do.Let them wait two or three weeks next pay day.

  3. carson c cadogan July 30, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Govt. needs to bring to Parliament Legislation to deal with two very vexing worker strategies being employed by workers in this country Barbados. These strategies are retarding the growth of the country and are impeding competitiveness both in the Public and Private sector.

    (a) Sickouts

    (b) Go slows

    Legislation need to be put on our statute books with the purpose of breaking the back of these insidious practices.
    Let me deal with the last one first. In the case of “Go slows” the Public sector or Private sector employer ought to be given the right , as employers to reduce the pay of all staff members who go on “Go slows” the workers reduce the productivity of the enterprise whether Govt. or Private sector often times by half a day’s work. Therefore the workers should only be paid for a half day’s work. This now can not be done because of existing Labour Legislation. This MUST be changed to give employers the option to reduce pay to half as necessary to counter this devilish practice.

    “Sickouts” also need to be dealt with. New modern Legislation also is needed to deal with this disgusting practice. If more than three(3) workers of any establishment whether Govt. or Private sector report sick for any given shift, then the workers must produce a Doctor’s certificate verifying that they were indeed sick and not playing the fool as they do now. Failure to produce a Doctor’s certificate, then the employer is under no obligation to pay the workers for the day. If on future occasions within a given Calendar year, more than three(3) workers report sick for any given shift then all the workers who fail to turn up for work should be Terminated. This will safeguard both small and Large enterprises from stupid industrial practices.


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