(CMC) – The Barbados government Monday announced that it had started its programme for restructuring the public service and for reducing expenditure as it seeks to turn around an ailing economy.
Head of the Civil Service, Dr. Louis Woodroffe said that persons affected by the “adjustment exercise” are being given a package which includes an exit cheque for vacation leave, severance, and any other entitlements at the time.
“Some categories of workers have already been given a package in line with the enunciated procedures, notably, security guards, who were informed last Friday, October 19, and given the package, including their cheques.”
Last week, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said at least 1, 500 public workers would be laid off over the next few weeks even as she acknowledged that sending home one worker “is too many”.
She said 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.
Woodroffe said that the process for other departmental posts which are being affected will be completed by Wednesday with workers to be affected coming from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance and the Post Office Department.
“With respect to general service posts, the termination process will commence today and is also expected to be completed by Wednesday,” he said, adding that the layoff process is one of the most challenging in any restructuring process.
“The Government is making every effort to ensure that these public officers are given the necessary support to assist them in going forward. This will include opportunities for retraining to allow them to provide services to Government, including, the digitising of Government records, as was recently announced by Prime Minister Mottley,” he said.
The head of the Civil Service said that it is also anticipated that some of the displaced workers will find employment in the upcoming projects.
“Every effort is being made to ensure that there is a smooth process according to established principle of last in, first out, and that these officers who have made a valuable contribution to the public service and Barbados are treated fairly, “Woodroffe added.
Barbados recently entered into a US$290 million Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Mottley told the nation that at least 99 per cent of the creditors have agreed to back the Government’s debt restructuring exercise.