Wrong road

Construction workers unhappy with amended contract

Close to 100 workers at Rotherley Construction downed tools Monday morning, in protest against changes to their terms of work.

The unionized workers, who are represented by the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), gathered outside the company’s Warrens, St Michael headquarters around 9 a.m. demanding immediate clarification of the terms set out in their new employment contracts.

At issue are new minimum work standards and volumes attached to the daily rate of pay.

Workers at Rotherley Construction are demanding clarification of the terms set out in their new employment contracts.

One official, who spoke to Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity, gave the example of a mason working for $120 per day. He explained that under the amended contracts, that worker would be required to lay a minimum number of blocks or to pour a certain amount of concrete per day.

However, the new specifications are not sitting well with the majority of the workers, who said they were advised by their union during a meeting last Friday not to sign any new employment documents, as they could eventually prove to be disadvantageous to the workers.

“When we join this firm, they gave [us] a contract to sign. We already sign a contract, now they bring out another contract,” an upset Phillip Mohamed told reporters Monday.

The labourer, who is among an estimated 60 per cent of employees who are refusing to sign the new contract, also raised concern that his duties were not adequately reflected in the new job specifications.

“I does do scaffolding and it [the contract] don’t mention nothing about scaffolding. They don’t mention anything about height . . .  what they paying you or whatever,” he said, while insisting that “you have to know what you working for. You can’t just sign something like that.”

BWU shop steward Matthew Gill also confirmed that the new employment contract was at the heart of Monday’s protest.

BWU shop steward Matthew Gill

However, he was much more guarded than Mohamed in his comments to reporters.

“It’s a little bit of a contentious issue. The workers are having some problem with it [the new contract] so that is what we are dealing with now,” he said, ahead of a meeting that was scheduled for 11 a.m. between the workers’ representatives and management.

Those talks, which took place at the BWU’s Solidarity House headquarters, lasted about two-and-a-half hours and proved inconclusive with the strong likelihood that the workers would remain off the job for the second straight day Tuesday.

However, up to the time of publication BWU’s Assistant General Secretary Orlando Gabby Scott could not be reached for comment, while CEO of Rotherley Allan Evelyn would only say through his secretary that as far as he was concerned there was no issue to speak of, adding that staff were invited to a meeting Monday morning.

3 Responses to Wrong road

  1. Jennifer May 16, 2017 at 10:30 am

    The bed lot who sleeping and bonding under those sateen sheets on the duck feathered pillows is responsible for all of this type of thing.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Why can’t the government implement some of these strategies to increase poor productivity in their departments too. Sick people waiting at the hospital 2 days to get attention. Pay per sick person seen and see how the people move. Pay base on hospitality in government and see how happy service users will be.

  2. Peter May 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    This thing is simple. Govt. the Union and Rotherly Construction should set up a meeting where among other issues, clear and transparency MUST BE NEGOTIATED. No one should implement any unnerving or unaccustomed systems and procedures with clearly presenting and discussing it with the appropriate bodies. That should be a rule of thumb and incorporated in the company’s bylaws and agreement contracts. Straighten that out and problem solved. Jackass Jennifer. That’s why everyone resents you You write pure sewage waste. What has this issue to do with the hospital and health care operations. You should go climb a greasy pole without panties. one of your favorite passtimes.

  3. Alex Alleyne May 16, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    One Minister send people off to the North to clean pig pens, I know for sure you must clean X amount per day. You go cut canes up North , you must cut X row(s) that seems to have no end. You go up North clean rooms make up beds , X amount per day for a hourly rate.
    It is not only showing up for work, but how much you produce in the 8 hours you are on the job.
    The Union(s) can argue for an incentive work basis for you guys.
    X amount of blocks at X amount of $$ per day and after that X plus X amount of $$ over at the end of the weak.
    I will bet , more work out of the work force , more money in everyone pocket. WIN , WIN , SITUATION.


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