Stalled

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The stalled discussions between this country’s sanitation workers and their employer over changes to the work week  are to be an agenda item at the next social partnership meeting.

This morning president of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall told Barbados TODAY that the long-running standoff will be one of matters for discussion when the social partnership meets next Monday.

He expects that after this meeting the union, which is representing the workers, would have a clearer view of the way forward.

“We don’t know the way forward just yet and we are discussing the matter with the social partnership when we meet on the 16th of September. Results of the vote which we held [among SSA workers] recently at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford will be discussed at that level and then we are going to determine a plan of action going forward,” said McDowall.

He added, “I really can’t say what is going to be the next move until then. We don’t know if we are going to come up with more alternatives. It is just too early to say what is going to be put on the table, so it is only after we really sit and put our heads together at that level that the union can determine what the best position is going to be.”

The vote, which was held last month by the NUPW to determine the workers’ appetite for Government’s proposed changes which would see workers rostered any five days of a seven-day work week, showed workers overwhelmingly sticking to the contractual Monday to Friday arrangement.

Following the tallying of the ballots a week later, NUPW Deputy General Secretary (ag), Wayne Waldron told Barbados TODAY that 85 per cent of the workers voted for the status quo.

“When we counted the votes, it showed that 85 per cent of the workers voted to maintain the regular work week, which is Monday to Friday. This is consistent with what the union has been putting forward as the workers’ position all along. As a matter of fact, only three per cent of the votes were in favour of Government’s position of any-five-out-of-seven,” he revealed.

However, when asked if he was concerned that the standoff was now into its tenth month with no glimmer of a compromise in sight, McDowall told Barbados TODAY that as long as talks between the sides continue there is hope of reaching some middle ground.

“We are still negotiating and as long as we continue to dialogue there is hope that we can come to an understanding that would make all parties happy. This is why the talks with the social partnership are important. After those talks are concluded and we have something concrete then we will come back to the public,” he said.
colvillemounsey@barbadostoday.bb

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