BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday January 10, 2013 – 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 yesterday (January 9) 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 yesterday’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 also informed reporters that when Cabinet meets today, she will update the Prime Minister on the outcome of the dispute. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)