BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday November 27, 2018 – While the retrenchment process in the public service continues in Barbados, possibly into the pending Yuletide season, one group of workers will be smiling all the way to the bank this Christmas.
The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) have reached a historic wages agreement that will see about 5,000 employees in the sector receiving a five-and-a-half per cent pay hike over a three-period, starting December 15, 2017 and ending in 2020.
The hotel and tourism workers will receive a two per cent increase in the first year, another two per cent in the second, and a one-and-a-half per cent raise in the third year.
“We are pleased to conclude this round of negotiations for the tourism sector and reach this agreement in less than a year. This has set a new precedent. It is also the first time that we have been able to sign back-to-back agreements in the sector,” said Deputy General Secretary of the BWU, Dwaine Paul.
BHTA Chairman Stephen Austin and CEO Senator Rudy Grant thanked the negotiating teams for their roles in ensuring the process was completed in record time.
“Traditionally, these types of negotiations have taken a very long time to conclude. Prior to 2017, when we signed a retroactive agreement to cover the period December 15, 2014 to December 14, 2017, such an agreement had not been signed for 10 years,” Grant noted.
The good news for tourism workers yesterday came even as the BWU’s General Secretary Senator Toni Moore warned that Government’s mass retrenchment exercise, which has seen hundreds of workers at state-owned enterprises losing their jobs in recent weeks, could last into next year.
She gave the caution as it was revealed that 75 of the approximately 750 workers at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) would be going home by the end of this week, in the first phase of the agency’s restructuring exercise which falls within the government’s wider retrenchment programme.
“It’s very safe to say that the restructuring programme will not finish before Christmas or immediately after,” Moore said. “But it is as the information comes to us and as we are able to treat to it.”