BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, September 9, 2009 – An end to the row between LIME and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) appears to be on the horizon, after the telecommunications company agreed to withdraw termination letters sent to employees that sparked the disagreement.
Prime Minister David Thompson announced in a statement last night after chairing a meeting with representatives from both sides that the company agreed to retract the July 30th letters with immediate effect.
“The parties further agreed that they will continue the consultation process with each other on the need for and methods of separation of any employees whom the company may be contemplating for separation or redundancy,” he added.
The company had given redundancy letters to 116 workers, some of whom took the package offered. Those who did so are not expected to be reinstated.
“Some workers have accepted packages and if a worker accepted, I don’t imagine that worker will want to lose their self-respect. So he or she will remain terminated,” said BWU General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman.
LIME’s Country Manager Alex MacDonald said it will now have to be determined, at a meeting with the Minister of Labour today, when the others will return to work.
Prime Minister Thompson said in his statement that both sides had acknowledged that “mis-steps” occurred during the process, but that they would follow the principles of the protocol on redundancy in the continuing negotiations and that “consultation will take place in an atmosphere of trust, transparency and commitment towards an amicable settlement in the shortest possible period”.
The BWU boss had threatened an island wide protest against LIME, saying that the staff cuts were brutal and that the company was not interested in considering other alternatives.