BWU Responds to CBC’s public statement about the Payment Agreement
The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) does not, as a matter of policy, enter into public discourse regarding an employer with whom it is negotiating at that moment. It should have liked to maintain this position regarding present negotiations with the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
However, CBC is quoted as making certain public statements on 06 February 2023 regarding its non-payment of certain sums of money to former employees of that Corporation to cover the period from 2017 to when they were terminated. Those statements do not represent an accurate account of what has been obtained so far in this matter. The BWU is forced to set the records straight to have its membership recognise that at no point did the CBC act on any command or instruction of the BWU to withhold or delay any payment to CBC staff, including those terminated after 2017.
The BWU has been demanding payment of increments which were part of a negotiated agreement to have an annual increment paid until CBC puts a performance assessment programme in place. CBC defaulted in this matter in 2016. A work stoppage ensued, and payment was made.
The claim for payments was made again formally on 22 July 2022 since the Board had failed to respond to the prompting of the CBC local Union Committee of Management. To escalate the issue, a BWU delegation led by General Secretary Toni Moore met with Board Chairman Hutson Best on Thursday, 22 September 2022.
Thereafter CBC met and reached an agreement on the following terms, contained in a letter signed by CEO Sanka Price on Dec 06, 2022:
- Increments were owed and due to be paid to employees in the bargaining unit from 2017. Five (5) increments were identified as due to employees to bring the situation to current in 2022.
- Notwithstanding the dire financial situation at CBC the Corporation wishes to advise that it will administer back pay of one (1) increment for the period of September 01, 2017 to August 2018 during December payroll. Payments will also be made to former CBC employees where there is a legitimate claim.
- CBC wishes to continue discussions with the BWU on the measures that can be employed to meet the remaining arrears to employees with respect to the period September 2018 to date (2022). The Union is reminded that the Corporation cannot sustain the levels of cash outflow from there said payments without severely affecting its operations and other commitments to service providers, customers, employees and the general public, and is therefore seeking the Union’s understanding in the matter.
- I have been directed by the Board to formally communicate that the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation provides the assurance to its employees and their representative the Barbados Workers’ Union that it is fully responsible as the employer for all pension liability arising from the Pension Plan at the Corporation for existing employees, former employees and pensioners. Further, the Corporation’s shareholder, the Government of Barbados acknowledges and accepts the said liability.
Our members, past, present and future, should be reassured that the BWU does not treat on their behalf in any carefree manner. The management may have challenges and is free to raise them on behalf of its principals. It must be careful not to convey sentiments as if they are items known, discussed and agreed to by the BWU’s Executive Council.