Saturday 17 August, 2019

BWA HR Director reinstated, Minister says healing now begins

Minister of Water Resources Management, Wilfred Abrahams

Minister of Water Resources Management, Wilfred Abrahams

The healing process has begun!

This declaration from Minister of Water Resources Management Wilfred Abrahams came shortly after he announced Jaqueline Belgrave, the Director of Human Resources Management and Development with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) would be reinstated with immediate effect after she was sacked on Friday.

He also said there would be a “reset” of the relationships between the Board, the management and staff of the state-run utility, and that they would “follow the processes that will lead to a healthier industrial relations climate within the Barbados Water Authority.”

“The Board of the Barbados Water Authority had taken [a] hands-on approach to the management of the Authority.  This, in the opinion of the board was necessary and warranted to bring stability to the operations of the Authority, in the face of the large number of critical matters and crises that faced the newly constituted Board. This however led to some strained relationship with some members of staff as well as with the Union. The realities of recent interactions and personnel matters were also discussed and the Board acknowledged certain practices, which resulted in discomfort to the staff, including the recent separation of the Director of Human Resources, Management and Development. 

“The Board has recommitted to allowing the management structures to work in the way intended and the observation of the proper protocols governing internal matters as well as industrial relations going forward.  The commitment has been made to take this opportunity to reset the relationships between the Board, management and staff, and to follow the processes that will lead to a healthier industrial relations climate within the Barbados Water Authority. In this regard, the decision has been taken to reinstate the Director of Human Resources Management and Development with immediate effect,” the statement sent to LOOP NEWS and other media houses added. 

On Friday evening, when the BWA’s General Manager Keithroy Halliday informed staff of the decision to immediately terminate Belgrave’s services, they threatened strike action.  It is understood that this might have prompted a meeting later than night between Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the Attorney General Dale Marshall and Minister Abrahams to discuss the dismissal and the threat of possible industrial action.

But earlier this morning, the bargaining agent for the workers at the Water Authority, the Barbados Workers Union, held an emergency meeting with employees to address the development and decided that no industrial action would be taken.

Abrahams in his statement noted that “The Barbados Water Authority is one of the most critical institutions in Barbados and this recognition must remain foremost in the minds of the members of the Board, the members of management and the members of staff.”

He said a properly functioning and efficient Barbados Water Authority delivering on its mandate is critical to the future development of Barbados. 

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