Former workers not pleased
Sat, 07/23/2016 - 12:00am
Former National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers remain frustrated, disappointed and angry, in spite of last week’s ruling in their favour.
And General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Toni Moore, says this is understandable as the judgement was really a bittersweet one. Her comments came in an interview with the media yesterday after a meeting with the former workers at Solidarity House.
“As we said last week following the decision that was handed down, we described it as a bittersweet feeling, identifying that the sweetness in it, if you can term it that way, came only from the revelation from the decision that the unions’ claim always had a basis. We constantly said that process had not been observed,” she said.
Moore contended, however, that the bitterness far outweighed the sweet, because while the claims by the Barbados Workers’ Union and National Union of Public Workers were substantiated, the reality is that those workers remain unemployed, while others remain on the job. She also noted that with workers being off the job for over two years, it is a bitter pill to swallow that the maximum award the Tribunal could give under the law is less than half of what they would have earned had their employment not been discontinued.
Moore added that the Union recognises that the decision of the Tribunal is final, but explained that appeals can be raised on questions of law and as such, the Union together with their legal counsel are in the process of examining the matter to verify that no such questions are necessary at this time.
She made the comments as she noted that this case has brought to light areas that need to be addressed as it relates to the functioning of the Tribunal. Moore maintains that systems have to be put in place to “tighten up” on the timeframes in which cases are heard and she added, they feel that the limit on the maximum award should also be revised.
“Whatever limit is revised would have to take into account the systems that are going to be put in place for timeframes to conclude decisions and they will go hand in hand. If you are going to have two years to make a determination, then a limit should not be less than two years award, if a person is to feel that they have received some element of justice. If it is going to take three years for a matter to conclude, then three years; if it takes three months, then the 52 weeks as it stands,” she said.
As such, Moore is again calling for a com-prehensive review of the Employment Rights Act to be performed as a matter of urgency. (JRT)