Productivity Council caught off-guard
by TRE GREAVES
THE AGENCY SET UP to measure and help improve productivity in Barbados is going the way of the dodo.
The National Productivity Council, established in August 1993, has become the latest casualty of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.
However, its pending closure on March 31 has caught the 15-member staff off-guard.
Executive director John Pilgrim said yesterday some employees, who were shocked by the move, described the action as a disregard for efficiency.
“The workers at the council could not understand why they would want to take this decision. It’s true we’re in an era where we want to cut expenses, but you got to be careful that you don’t throw out the baby with the bathtub water,” he said.
“And in the hearts and minds of the people, that’s the interpretation. But I don’t think it is a deliberate effort on the part of the Government to send that message,” Pilgrim said.
His comments came as activities continued to mark the annual Week Of Excellence at the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle
of the Central Bank.
Minister of Labour Colin Jordan explained that the closure came after thousands of Barbadians weighed in online about how they viewed productivity.
“They indicated to us that while we needed to focus on productivity, that it could be better done more effectively or more efficiently done in a different format,” he told reporters before a tour of Oran at its headquarters at the Harbour Industrial Park.
He, however, said Government was not abandoning the issue of productivity.
“Even though we cannot protect every job, our intention is to protect every person. And the heightened approach to productivity is going to manifest itself in the modernisation programme that Government is about to execute with the IDB [Inter-American Development Bank],” he promised.
The minister indicated that a unit in the Ministry of Economic Affairs would pick up where the council left off.
General secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Senator Toni Moore, said she would be checking to ensure those promises materialised.
“We haven’t heard the full details, but we will be following up at the level of the Social Partnership to ensure that the contribution or the focus of the Productivity Council is not lost in the change process,” she said.
During the Week Of Excellence, members of the council were applauded for their efforts. It served as a tripartite organisation comprising representatives from the Social Partnership; employees and employers from Government and the private sector, and trade unions.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the National Productivity Council, John Pilgrim, said the employees
who would be on the breadline by monthend were shocked by the move. (Picture by Tre Greaves.)