WITH THOUSANDS of jobs already cut by Government’s sweeping retrenchment programme, the public service could be dealt another blow in the move to make it “leaner and meaner”.
National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) general secretary Denis Clarke and president Walter Maloney issued this warning yesterday, saying Barbados could soon be giving more public service work to part-timers and people on contract, with the loss of a number of benefits and permanent jobs.
The union leaders called it “precarious work”, a trend under which companies worldwide are shirking their legal obligations to workers by replacing permanent jobs with contract and temporary work.
“Precarious workers” fill permanent job needs but are denied permanent employee rights. Globally, these workers are subject to unstable employment, lower wages and more dangerous working conditions. They rarely receive social benefits and are often denied the right to join a union, labour analysts say.
“While we are not seeing a hell of a lot of it in the public service in Barbados, in the public service of Trinidad they’re struggling with precarious work and the same thing will happen in Barbados,” Clarke said during a media briefing at the NUPW’s Dalkeith, St Michael, headquarters yesterday.
“You’re going to have positions that are permanent that can be filled by permanent employees [but] will be filled by part-time workers or workers on contract and workers on contract, they’re going to treat you as though you are self-employed.”
Maloney said The Bahamas was one of the nations where the precarious work trend was taking a grip. Countries were using it to make their public service “leaner and meaner”, with the majority of the work being “farmed out to the private sector”, he told reporters. (TY)