Monday, April 22, 2024

Work shift change coming


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By Sanka Price @Sanka_nationbb

Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn says there must be significant changes in the mindset of those working in both the private and public

sectors. (FP)

and on flexitime schedules.

But to achieve this, says Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn, there must be significant changes of mindset in both the private and public sectors.

The minister revealed discussions In the not too distant future, more Barbadians will be working from home are ongoing at the Social Partnership level on the need to change the Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. system many citizens now work under, to one more suited to the structure and nature of work in the 21st century.

Explaining that such a move would be a critical transformation point, Straughn said the results of the discussions and the subsequent implementation would be critical to realising the full benefits under the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.

“The introduction of flexitime schemes and the ability to work from home requires changes both in the mindset of the employer and that of the employee. Greater accountability for one’s time would be critical to the economy evolving to a stage where deadlines rather than the usual 9 to 5 workday will become a critical factor in the transformation of the workplace,” said the economist.

He noted that the Mia Mottley administration’s efforts to modernise all of its internal processes and procedures would allow citizens to conduct business with Government more efficiently, while at the same time Government will be better able to deliver public goods and services in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Greater utilisation of technology

“Government’s efforts to modernise should be matched by similar efforts within the private sector as well as the labour movement. Greater utilisation of technology would allow the economy to operate on a 24/7 basis will be critical to transforming the nature of work so growth can reach its fullest potential,” said Straughn, the Christ Church East Central parliamentary representative.

The initiative is also seen as another measure to create a more productive environment while facilitating the ease of doing business here for citizens and foreign investors. In this year’s World Bank ratings on the Ease Of Doing Business, Barbados ranks 129 among 190 economies.

Straughn’s comments were made prior to the impasse between the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) and their workers, represented by the National Union of Public Workers, on that organisation’s mandate from Government to no longer pay overtime for working on weekends. This is being viewed as a “test case” for the changes necessary to facilitate a 24/7 society.

The Government wants the employees to work any five of seven days instead of the present Monday to Friday schedule. That would allow garbage collections to be done on weekends without having to pay overtime. However, the workers have rejected this change saying they will not give up their present terms and conditions of service.

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