The Barbados government says at least 1, 500 public workers will be laid off over the next few weeks as it seeks to turn around an ailing economy, while acknowledging that sending home one worker 'is too many'.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley in a radio and television broadcast to the nation on Sunday night, said that the job cuts will affect workers in central government and government entities.
'We give the country the assurance that while we do not have the exact number because we are following process, rather than arithmetical deductions, we know that it unlikely to be more than 1,500 people over the course of the next few weeks. But, regrettably, one is too many,' she said, while detailing a wide-ranging plan to cushion the fallout.
Prime Minister Mottley, whose Barbados labour Party (BLP) came to power in the May general election this year, acknowledged that it was a painful exercise her administration has embarked upon but added that the layoffs would be underpinned by the last in, first out principle and workers are in line to receive full packages.
'There will be severance type packages available to persons, particularly the temporary persons, and more than 80 per cent are temporary. Two, that those severance type packages will also be buttressed by payment in lieu of notice.
'Three, that without prejudice to that, that in some instances that there is vacation pay due to officers at an individual level.'
Mottley told Barbadians that her Cabinet had also agreed to ensure that dislocated workers would go home with their payments in hand.
'None of us would feel good having to go home without knowing where money is coming from and who is going to help us tomorrow or to come back next week or next month begging for money. We have to do this properly,' Mottley said, conceding that the process would not be problem free.
'Will it be seamless and absolutely perfect? Probably not. I have been around long enough to know that mistakes are made, but what is important is that if mistakes are made and they are brought to our attention that we correct them as soon as possible.'
But she told the nation that the government would be establishing a household mitigation unit to assist the retrenched workers.
'I will have five persons who will interact with all those who are being laid off to make sure there is a minimal standard of living below which no one in this country will fall,' Mottley said, adding that the government would also be partnering...