Union in Barbados slams planned retrenchment as “attack on women”
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC –The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is describing as an attack on women, the decision of the Barbados government to send home clerks, typists and stenographers as part of the 1,500 public workers to be dismissed over the next few weeks as it aims to turn around an ailing economy.
NUPW general secretary Roslyn Smith told reporters that most of the people employed in those posts are women and it is not right to send them home.
“…One hundred per cent of those persons are women. These women are single parents, breadwinners for their families. This is an attack on women in the workforce; this is a gender issue,” she said, adding “what nonsense is that, something wrong."
Smith called for Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley to give more details regarding the planned layoffs.
“The Prime Minister rightly said that we understand layoffs, we have been through it and I think were we in the position to really sit and go through what we are going through now with workers, we would have been in a better position to advise the government,” Smith said.
She urged the Mottley administration to weigh the pros and the cons in all decisions to be made, adding “it is not always good to be rushing.
“You just cannot hand the union your decision and say ‘that’s it’. I maintain that we should always have a place within the collective bargaining unit. I don’t want anyone to go sidelining the NUPW.”
The NUPW said that 800 workers in the public sector would be retrenched and that the meeting with union members on Monday night was very cordial, with workers facing retrenchment worried about their future.
The union has pledged to do all it can to ensure its members get a fair deal.
Prime Minister Mottley, in a radio and television broadcast on Sunday night, said that the job cuts will affect workers in central government and government entities.
“We give the country the assurance that while we do not have the exact number because we are following the process, rather than arithmetical deductions, we know that it is unlikely to be more than 1,500 people over the course of the next few weeks. But, regrettably, one is too many,” she said while detailing a wide-ranging plan to cushion the fallout.
Prime Minister Mottley, whose Barbados Labour Party (BLP) came to power in the May general election this year, acknowledged that it was a painful exercise her administration has embarked upon but added that the layoffs would be underpinned by the last in, first out principle and workers are in line to receive full packages.