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Barbados on brink of national strike
BRIDGETOWN—Approximately 25,000 workers across Barbados are awaiting word from their trade union as to exactly when they will be given the signal to stop work in solidarity with 97 workers severed by Lime this month.
This is the result of a breakdown in negotiations between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and Lime on Wednesday evening after around four hours of talks mediated by the Ministry of Labour, led by line minister Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo.
At the heart of the impasse is the telecommunications major’s refusal to rescind the severance letters that it sent to the 97 employees after it closed down and outsourced its retail operations to a third-party in a measure aimed at increasing profitability and improving customer service, according to Lime managing director Alex McDonald.
Following Wednesday’s failed talks, general secretary of the BWU Sir Roy Trotman told media as he and his team emerged from the Ministry of Labour offices that he would be seeking permission from the trade union’s general counsel to call a national strike.
Minister Byer-Suckoo, in brief comments to the media following the meeting, said she was disappointed that the issue was not resolved, and although it was the union’s right to call a strike, such action would not solve the problem.
She expressed optimism that the parties would return to the negotiation table since “a lot was at stake” and a strike was not in the interest of either the BWU or Lime. Byer-Suckoo noted that she had other options she could act on in an effort to bring about a settlement while not specifying what these were.
However, there is a possibility that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart could step into the fray as the minister informed reporters the Prime Minister was updated on the outcome of the dispute when Cabinet met yesterday.
According to the Cable and Wireless Ltd’s online annual report 2012 , country manager Alex McDonald wrote in his report: “On the cost front, we have taken several steps over the last financial year to trim costs, add value and make Lime more nimble and more efficient. We have reaped some success in this regard and we continue into the new financial year with a mantra to maintain this approach.”
Chief financial officer Rojer Inglis, in his report, spoke of structural adjustments realising revenue growth in a flat economy, declining disposable income and internal transitionary measures. (Caribbean360)
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