Tuesday 22 October, 2019

CTUSAB reflects on the year with new energy for 2019

While the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), understands that there is a need for a leaner public service, they believe that the government should move to explore options that can help to drive a more productive public service.

Having embarked on a mass retrenchment programme, the association said that the government ought to balance this against the responsibility it has to the nation to facilitate the creation of employment.

With that in mind, CTUSAB is suggesting that as an alternative to engaging a retrenchment programme, an effective workforce rationalization plan be built on accurate and relevant consideration of the full range of rationalization alternatives, beyond that of a focus placed on dismissals.

It is against that backdrop that in the associations 'New Year Message', they are calling on the government to respect the role of trade unions and recommit to returning to the process of collective bargaining.

“It is our firm view that by doing so would be to return to the first principles of Industrial Relations, observing cooperation and mutual respect, as the way towards arriving at and implementing a labour management agreement, the message says.

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They also believe that there are alternative arrangements which can be considered as a means of preserving jobs, while looking to reduce the workforce other than by involuntary dismissals.

Among those arrangements and measures suggested are:

“Work rotation among other government departments; general or job category specific hiring freezes; normal attrition of the workforce as a result of retirements, deaths or resignations; overtime restrictions; part time employment; job sharing; flexible working hours and reduced working hours.”

CTUSAB says these are options which can reach the desired result of reducing the government’s expenditure, maintaining employment levels and reducing the level of social fallout.

They believe that at first, the process of discussion and negotiations should be initiated through the process of collective bargaining with the trade unions, and as a next step, “there should be the process of dialogue and consultation with the members of the social partnership.”

As Barbadians usher in a new year, the association says they are conscious that many greet it with some trepidation, as a cloud of uncertainty looms with regard to what it will bring following the many challenges 2018 presented for labour, which culminated with hundreds of Barbadians being placed on the breadline.

While they are never the less of the view that as 2019 dawns there is the hope that the country’s economic fortunes will turn around, they noted that the reality remains that workers in both the public and private sectors will recommence work under the fear of being a casualty of ongoing retrenchment programmes.

CTUSAB noted that as labour seeks to reorganize and reenergize itself, it requires that all trade unions and staff associations return to organizing and educating workers, since these are the principles and the bedrock for the building and maintaining of a vibrant trade union movement.

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