CBC blues

Strike action threatens operations of state broadcaster

The threat of strike action continues to hover over the operations of Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) after a group of about 50 workers at the state-run radio, television and cable outfit walked off the job earlier today complaining about pay.

At issue are four increments dating back to November 2012.

Some of the workers who walked off the job today at CBC’s headquarters.

Based on an agreement reached under the chairmanship of Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer Suckoo, unionized CBC workers were expecting that the increments would have been paid across-the-board.

However, after receiving their pay packs this morning, some workers, who are already at the top of their pay scales, were both surprised and disappointed to learn that they would not be benefiting from the latest pay deal.

This triggered an immediate work stoppage, with members of senior management forced to present the news and man other critical aspects of the media company’s operations.

In its communication to the workers, the corporation said that following negotiations with the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), it recognized that increments were a legal requirement and as such it said payments would be made in keeping with existing salary scales.

However, it warned that any payments outside of the scales would be “tantamount to salary increases” and “not in accordance with Section 20 (c) of the CBC Act which states that “no salary in excess of  such sum as the Minister may determine and notify in writing to the Corporation, shall be assigned to any post without the prior approval of the Minister”.

However, neither the BWU nor its members appeared prepared to accept that position.

In a press release issued following a midday meeting with workers who were gathered outside the CBC’s Pine, St Michael headquarters, BWU Executive Assistant Sindy Green warned that the union’s executive council would meet very shortly “to give full formal endorsement to and support for the action and to consider whether the strike action needs to be escalated.

“This is the second occasion in recent times where a statutory board, having agreed at ministerial level to pay increments to workers who have not had their performance approval system put in place, refuses to pay those increments or has decided that it will pay the part that it finds convenient,” the BWU statement said, while pointing out that the state-run Barbados Water Authority, which is located next door to CBC, had adopted a similar position.

When contacted by Barbados TODAY for a comment on the impact of today’s strike action, CBC General Manager Doug Hoyte said: “I have not got any comments to make.”

In the meantime, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who is the minister responsible for broadcasting, is currently away on official business.

However, sources say workers, including some who have not been paid for the past two months, are expected back on the picket line tomorrow.

6 Responses to CBC blues

  1. Saga Boy or girl? September 27, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Wait so this is a wild cat strike? So people at the top of their scales really expect to get more money? The BWU can promote them and pay them too. The union really making foolish mock sport.

    Reply
  2. hcalndre September 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    The PM Stuart is out of the island, what about the minister that he leave to act in his absence, is this a joke? Listening to the talk show hosts` position on salary increases for the Civil servants, I doubt that they are among the workers that walk off the job and are the union members? Is Maureen Holder out there?

    Reply
    • O. Walrond September 28, 2017 at 9:47 am

      She’s not a member of CBC staff

      Reply
  3. Sam Jones September 28, 2017 at 4:15 am

    The service at the CBC is so poor and archaic that customers are leaving for other cable providers, don’t the workers see the connection between customers and salaries?

    Reply
  4. Lorenzo September 28, 2017 at 7:54 am

    hcalindre I doubt that the three DLP Moderators would be out there striking based on their open criticism of Mr McDowall and Ms Moore in defense of their party.,and if they were out there the Union should ignore them,which unfortunately it cannot do.

    Reply
  5. hcalndre September 28, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Lorenzo; they are three, but one says he works pro bono for the good of the station. Where the other two are concern, the union should have a clause that the moneys they`re fighting for is for the union members only.

    Reply

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