Sunday, April 21, 2024

BCC staff out of pocket


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NEARLY 200 PART-TIME members of the academic staff of the Barbados Community College (BCC) are singing the blues this Christmas.

With just 24 hours to go before Christmas Day, the workers say they still have not been paid for services performed in November.

According to a National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) representative at the college, this group of employees is required to submit claims for work done in the previous month and they are to be paid 15 working days later.

But according to the union official, workers have been left empty-handed at a time when most of them need the cash.

“By our calculation, 15 working days would mean that we should have been paid since last Monday. The college has been suffering from serious cash flow problems for more than a year. They have become dependent on going to the Ministry [of Education] for draw-downs each month. We normally wouldn’t have to but things have changed,” the representative noted.

“The way that we operated in times past is that we would always have enough [funds] of our own. Yes, we would have had subsidies from Government but we were never this dependent on a month-to-month basis for payment of part-time, full-time or the bi-monthly people,” the BCC worker told the MIDWEEK NATION.


Largest component


Part-time employees comprise the largest component of the staff complement at the Eyrie, St Michael institution. However, the union representative disclosed that even full-time staff had been hit with late payment in recent months.

“For over a year now, full-time workers would have got accustomed to that. Things have gotten increasingly worse where we have had one month where we were actually paid well into the next month.

“Full-time people are to be paid on the 19th of the month, and bi-monthly people as well. Last month we had a similar problem where everyone ended up having to be paid almost in the same period and because this is the Christmas time and you are supposed to be paid early, naturally you are going to find that some group is disadvantaged.

“I knew from last week this was going to be a potential problem simply because people were not sure if on Friday they would have been paid. Even full-time workers were not sure they were going to be paid . . . . It is sad but true. People see us out there but they have no idea the pressure that we are under or the severity of the problem,” the worker noted.

The BCC’s top management has been at loggerheads with the NUPW over a number of industrial relations matters. Retired NUPW general secretary Dennis Clarke has been retained by the union to continue negotiations with the tertiary institution to have the matters resolved.

BCC principal Dr Gladston Best could not be reached for a comment. (GE)


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