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Barbados union, LIME reach agreement over dismissals

Saturday, January 19, 2013 | 10:36 AM    

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) - The Barbados Workers Union (BWU) has welcomed the agreement reached during the early hours of Saturday with the telecommunications company, Cable and Wireless (Barbados) Limited, and averting a nationwide strike over the dismissal of nearly 100 workers earlier this month.

BWU general secretary, Sir Roy Trotman, speaking to reporters at the end of a marathon round of talks under the guidance of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, said that while he was pleased with the outcome there is still some work to do.

“So if you think it is a victory for the labour movement, I share that view. I certainly would believe that most workers share that view,” Sir Roy said.

Earlier this month, the telecommunication company operating under the brand name, LIME, blamed “substantial losses” and said that it would be outsourcing its retail operations in a bid to improve its financial position.

LIME managing director Alex McDonald said while the company would be sending home 97 employees 48 new positions would be created.

The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) has already denounced plans to stage the industrial action.

The BWU had been planning a nationwide strike in a bid to get the company to reverse its decision and following the talks which began on Friday both Prime Minister Stuart and McDonald agreed that Sir Roy would inform the media on the outcome.

Sir Roy said that the meeting had arrived at some important decisions, including an anticipated apology from LIME.

“Not like the one on Tuesday which was an apology to the process and an apology to the Minister (of Labour) for disrespecting her office. But this one will be, indeed has to be, an apology, to those workers who have worked for Cable and Wireless and whose characters can be said to have been maligned.

Some statements were made to suggest that the workers were so indifferent on their job, that the company has had to get rid of them and bring in other people,” he said.

He said those present at the meeting have reached a level of understanding that accepts that the industrial relations process “cannot be treated like a football game in somebody’s backyard.

“I have no doubt that the Prime Minister will need to speak to the country about improved and stabilised labour management relations and what they will mean for the welfare of the country. I will have to speak to my own executive and to the membership of Cable Wireless, much more fully, before I can give much more to the press,” he said.

Sir Roy also said that the union would be holding talks with the telecommunications company regarding the future of 35 other employees.

“We still have to have talks and it depends on the company, where those talks will go, so the placards are still there,” he warned.

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