Move to save jobs
HOPE IS ON the horizon as Government looks more closely at union proposals in an effort to lessen the number and severity of some 3 000 public sector layoffs, due to begin next Wednesday.
This was the word from the country’s two largest trade unions and Government’s ministers of finance and labour yesterday, at the end of a near-three-hour meeting at Government Headquarters.
Describing Government’s approach to the meeting as “more conciliatory” following a strongly worded letter to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler from the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Dennis Clarke, said: “That window of opportunity which the Prime Minister spoke to the union about is open and we’re hoping we can go in and save as many jobs as possible out of the 3 000.
“We’re also looking to see if we can pull back in more jobs from Drainage Unit . . . . They’ve given some consideration to the proposals [of the NUPW’s ten-point plan] so we’re seeing some light there.”
With plans for a follow-up meeting Saturday at the same venue, Clarke’s BWU counterpart Sir Roy Trotman said among the proposals aimed at removing the layoff threat as much as possible were: earlier retirement for a number of volunteers who may wish to leave the system, and enhancing the retirement age with attractive packages.
“We’ve given consideration to other proposals which were submitted by the NUPW and which have been examined by the Minister of Finance and his team, which they commented on this afternoon; and we could see from what they’ve said that they have given thought to many of those proposals,” said Sir Roy, noting the minister had also looked at the related costing of some proposals.