BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday June 30, 2014, CMC– As government struggles to cut cost through financial structural adjustment programme, an Opposition Member of Parliament has revealed that another 100-plus workers may be added to a list of public workers being sent home.
“On the 16th of April, the Chief Executive Officer of the [state-owned] Port Authority wrote to [Barbados Workers Union General Secretary] Sir Roy Trotman, giving him notice that the Port Authority plans to lay off 100-odd out of the 392 workers, 25 per cent of the Port workers are propositioned to lose their jobs,” MP Edmund Hinckson revealed Saturday.
The Barbados Labour Party politician’s statement comes against a backdrop of the Finance Minister, Chris Sinckler, announcing in December that government will lay off some 3,000 public workers, beginning January as part of a programme aimed at reducing current costs.
There are no official figures on the total number of workers the administration has sent home to date, but the figure is believed to be in excess of 2,000. Following a consultation visit, the IMF – on whose advice it is suspected government is cutting staff – announced in February that 1,800 were so far severed. Since then a number of state entities have announced job cuts, many of which are being disputed by labour unions.
Hinckson said, “Under the Employment Rights Act, notice was given to the main union of the workers of the port. And they were to enter negotiations on how best this [retrenchment] could be done.”
Last September, Barbados began a 19-month fiscal adjustment programme to reduce operating costs, and one plank of that strategy has been a reduction in Government payroll.