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Barbados Minister of Commerce tries to avert national shutdown threatened by Barbados trade union

Barbados’ Minister of Commerce is trying to avert an island wide shutdown threatened by the country’s largest public sector trade union over the dismissal of elderly workers at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).

But Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss told the Sunday Sun that the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) should not mistake his attempt for a shift in the BIDC’s position.

The BIDC sent home 13 people last week, including 10 over the age of 60.

It said its Board of Directors had invoked its right under the Statutory Boards (Pensions) Act to retire officers reaching that age, but the NUPW, which is being supported by the country’s largest union – the Barbados Workers’ Union – has insisted that the move was illegal.

The NUPW has demanded the withdrawal of the dismissal letters and threatened a national strike if the BIDC fails to comply.

The union’s National Council will meet next Tuesday to make a final decision on the matter.

“We will recommend [to the union’s National Council] that if BIDC fails to change their decision, then the only option that we will have is to embark on serious industrial action . . . We will not be going backwards, we are going forward,” NUPW general secretary Roslyn Smith said last week.

Inniss told the Sunday Sun that tomorrow morning he will send an invitation to the NUPW for representatives to meet with him and BIDC officials.

“As Minister of Commerce, I am prepared to facilitate a meeting between the BIDC and the NUPW to discuss matters related to the recent retirement of ten members of the BIDC staff,” he said.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

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