Mottley lambastes ERT ruling

OPPOSITION Leader, Mia Mottley, expressed her dissatisfaction with the recent ruling made by the Employment Rights Tribunal (ERT), in the case of the employees at the National Conservation Commission (NCC), who were adjudged to be unfairly dismissed.

While wrapping up her contribution to the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2015 in the Lower Chamber yesterday, Mottley drew reference to the ruling, which she noted will leave the employees with 52 weeks of pay after being dismissed for two years.

“In other words, they were dismissed 104 weeks, but will only get 52 weeks. But more importantly, they have been deprived of a right to get a pension, because many of them were sent home, six years, seven, eight, nine years... and in some instances people who had a basic pension were deprived of getting a higher pension.

“Not because the government had to send home people from the NCC, but because the Minister sought to intervene in a process through multiple directives through the General Manager, not the Prime Minister. The Minister of Environment sought to send down instructions to the General Manager of the NCC as to who should be the persons who should go home,” she charged.

“So we have a situation where there are employees with two and three years who were chosen to remain in the employment of the NCC, and people who have legitimately worked there six to 12 years, and in absolute defiance of a commitment given by this Prime Minister.”

To this end, she charged that what happened subsequently was “a form of political assassination, only to be exceeded by political genocide”.

“No 52 weeks coming 104 weeks later can be a balm for those persons who have been deprived of a right to earn pension. These persons were not laid off because of bad behaviour...

“No ERT decision can take away from the fact that these people have been deprived of a right to pension in this country, Barbados. I go further – for the Tribunal to suggest that reinstatement is not a viable option because of the relationship of trust between employer and employee, is almost farcical in my view.

“I could understand if this was a case of a guidance counsellor and an employer, but there can be no harm done by forcing the government to go back on an issue from start and follow the dictate that the Prime Minister gave the people of Barbados on September, 2013, that it would be last in first out, and nobody who was a single bread winner in a household.

“When the Prime Minister said that, I agreed with the Prime Minister, because his instincts were right, his utterances were right, but his failure to intervene and to require of his Ministers to do the right thing by the employees of statutory boards under their supervision, is reprehensible,” Mottley exhorted. (JH)

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