Non-teaching staff of the Barbados Community College (BCC) staged a two-hour work stoppage on Tuesday over outstanding payments and supervisory issues.
After 8 a.m the general workers assembled at the entrance to the college at Howell’s Cross Road, St Michael to await the arrival of the General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Richard Greene. He arrived at 9:15 a.m. and spoke with them before meeting briefly with BCC’s management.
Following the meeting, Greene told the media that the union and the college’s management agreed to address the concerns at a meeting set for Thursday March 2.
Greene said the workers staged the industrial action because they had become frustrated that the outstanding matters remain unresolved.
“We have met with the staff and we had a meeting with the principal and chairman of the BCC and coming out of that meeting we have made some commitments as to how these matters would be resolved.
“Firstly, the union will formalise these grievances in writing and then we will be meeting next week to get all of those matters resolved on behalf of the workers.
“There are a number of outstanding payments that have been promised for a long time, that is the main one. There are honoraria payments that are outstanding that have remained unpaid for some time. And there are a number of other supervisory-type matters that are causing some concerns amongst staff as well,” Greene said.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary said the union advised the general workers that it is best to return to work and allow the grievance process to work.
He said even though there are “more than the usual” number of matters being addressed with industrial ‘action’, the union is doing its best to get the grievances fixed as quickly as possible.
Greene gave the assurance that classes were not affected by the work stoggage.
“These workers normally come in very early and get the classrooms cleaned and ready for the students. So there is no negative effect on the students nor on the operations of the BCC.
“It was a very short stoggage, it was just to get some attention and the staff are back to work. It is business as normal here at the BCC for the interim until we meet again,” he said.
BCC’s Principal Annette Alleyne told members of the media that there was no breakdown in communication on the issues raised.
She said management has asked the union to reinforce to their membership that industrial action should be the last resort when all attempts at communication have been exhausted. She said this did not happen in this case.
The principal said BCC’s management is always willing to meet with staff to discuss grievances.
“In fact, we actually met with the shop steward and one of the issues that they raised was some payment that the maids had expected. That issue was being dealt with. In terms of the other issues, I am yet to be apprised of what those other issues are.
“So the union has indicated that they are willing to meet and we will have that meeting on March 2 where we will look at whatever those issues are.
“I have asked that we get those issues in writing so that we will be apprised of whatever those specific issues and concerns are. So it was an amicable meeting and we are hoping for a speedy resolution to whatever issues there are that they have identified,” Alleyne said, adding that the workers would not be penalised for their actions.