CBC staff claims the board is interfering in day-to-day operations

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Industrial relations issues are once again brewing at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). If left unaddressed they could lead to industrial action, sources have revealed.

Employees, supervisors and even managers are reportedly up in arms about some “unnecessary interference” by the board of management that they claim resulted in late payments for contract workers and the slowdown of operations in general.

Union representatives are also closely monitoring a proposal that would discontinue the practice of salary deductions, a move which is reportedly intended to save the corporation between $200-$300 per month.

The measures are part of a number of reforms rolled out by acting Chairman Sharon Christie who is reportedly overseas on medical leave and managing operations remotely.

As part of the new measures, absolutely no corporation funds can be spent without the expressed approval of the board.

“Every month, the salaries have to go to her to be approved. My salary and the other salaries don’t change and they are only a few people who get overtime money, but everything has to go to her and she is holding up everything,” one manager complained.

“We are being asked the same questions over and over every month and the truth is that managers are fed up and frustrated, and they cannot get ahead with their work.

“There are issues with IT software which need to be resolved, but we can’t get it,” said the source who requested anonymity.

Among the contract workers affected by the issues were radio deejays who earlier this month withheld some of their services after outstanding pay was held up.

“These are people who bring in a lot of money for us who certain people want to advertise with when they are on the air,” the manager revealed.

“Our most essential areas like those who work in the television department ensuring that we stay on the air are contracted workers. Most of our videographers are contracted workers and every month, we have the same problem where the money is there, but it is being held up,” the source further explained.

Another manager was even more fearful that the proposal to stop automatic salary deductions would place unnecessary pressure on employees and cost the corporation in the long run.

“Even those people who agreed to work with the Government’s Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS) would have to stop work and go to the national treasury building and pay every month themselves, because the only thing the corporation is deducting is mortgage payments.”

While CBC’s Barbados Workers’ Union representative Kent Jerson declined to comment, a source revealed that the proposal had been rejected by the union. If implemented, it would result in “disruption” from staff, the source said.

“These workers have been through a lot and because of the staff cuts, they are now giving 200 per cent to keep the place afloat and now they are attempting to nickel and dime people out of something that will cost them $200-$300 a month,” said the workers’ rep.

“You can’t just unilaterally do this kind of foolishness, and in practical terms, if you have two or three things that you have to pay, it will cost CBC more when people have to take time from work to pay these individually.

The source called on the new Minister of Information and Broadcasting Wilfred Abrahams to intervene, warning that the board ought to deal with policy instead of dabbling in the day-to-day operations.

Efforts to reach CBC’s Chief Executive Officer Sanka Price for comment were unsuccessful.
(kareemsmith@barbadostoday.bb)

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