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Showdown

The state enterprise that manages cricket’s famed Mecca and the Barbados Workers Union appears headed for a showdown over pending layoffs as the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme continues to bite into public sector jobs.

BWU Deputy General Secretary Dwaine Paul declared dissatisfaction with a lack of consultation on plans by Kensington Oval Management Incorporated (KOMI) to send home an undisclosed number of staff under BERT.

But the cricket stadium’s chief executive has denied there was even enough of a newsworthy discussion on the job cuts.

Paul told Barbados TODAY: “The union and Kensington Oval is headed for a dispute over the company’s move to effect redundancies at Kensington without following the process that was agreed to by the Government of Barbados and the Social Partnership for redundancies in the statutory corporations. This is foolishness that people are not doing what they are supposed to do time and time again.”

He continued: “We keep saying all the time that we need to follow the process…and we received communication from Kensington that they want to do redundancies and [still] the process has not been observed. So you would expect that there would be a dispute between the Barbados Workers’ Union and Kensington over their move to start redundancies without having any care for the process.”

Asked how many workers were expected to be displaced, Paul said the numbers were not the issue.

“[KOMI] have not done what they are supposed to do,” Paul said. “So we are going to have a problem with it. You can’t continue to say you are going to follow the process…and these chief executive officers and board members are doing what they want to do; which is contrary to the agreement that the process must be followed.

“You can’t write me and give me a day’s notice for a meeting to talk about redundancies that you already want to effect. That is madness. We had this problem last year when the process started, now we still have it again this year. People are doing as they like, and the Government needs to deal with these people who are not following the process… because we are not going to put up with it.”

But KOMI Chief Executive Officer Ben Toppin said he was not aware of any pending dispute with the BWU.

Toppin told Barbados TODAY: “I don’t know of any issue with any union and any process. You are ahead of me; I can’t speak to that. Is there a problem…you’re telling me? When they [union] come back to us with any procedural issues, we will deal with it.

“I am not saying that the union has not been approached about some plans, but I don’t know what the issue is exactly.”

He also suggested to Barbados TODAY that there was no news story in “what little” has been discussed with the union:  “What has transpired so far is between us and the union. “As far as I know there is no story. I personally have had no discussion with anybody from the union. So I am not sure what the problem is and what the big story is.”

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

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