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More layoffs to come, PM Mottley says

Workers at State-owned enterprises are being put on notice that there are still more layoffs to come as Government seeks to manage a huge wage bill.

“We’ve sent home so far just about 1,000 [people],” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said today on the call-in programme Down To Brass Tacks on Starcom Network Inc.

“There are still a few more layoffs, what I call the peak structural layoffs, to come in one or two State-owned enterprises.”

The Prime Minister said the additional layoffs will come during Phase three of the Government’s restructuring programme for the Barbados economy.

“Phase three starts in April this year and goes to December 2020 to deal with some of those State-owned enterprises that require a greater amount of time and process to go in and do what has to be done so that you don’t end up without the services that have to be delivered.”

Noting that Government’s entire wage bill was $780 million, she said some 10,000 people would have been placed on the breadline if her administration had not undertaken the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan (BERT).

“No wonder you heard the former Governor of the Central Bank talking about sending home about 5,000 or 6,000 people . . . But imagine what would have happened if we’d sent home five times that [1,000], if you have the kind of crying and dislocation that we’ve seen, legitimately so, from what we sent home,” Mottley said.

The Prime Minister also addressed what she said was the recent chatter about overtime, noting that she has no fundamental issue with a suggestion made by the trade unions.

“The restriction of overtime was not a suggestion of the Government. It was a suggestion that came from the unions in the social partnership. We think that it is a fair comment because if we can restrict overtime to allow less people to be sent home and laid off, I think that is a fair thing,” Mottley said.

“These are some of the things that we have been dealing with and I ask Bajans to stay focus. You cannot say that the Government does not have a growth programme when the same Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation is premised on a growth programme and not only austerity measures.”

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