UCAL workers get salary increase and back pay

Staff at the United Commercial Autoworks Limited (UCAL) have received a 10 per cent salary increase after the conclusion of negotiations with the Barbados Workers’ Union and the company.

It comes just weeks after a work stoppage at the Weymouth, St Michael headquarters to protest grievances dating back as far as 2019.

In a media release, BWU Legal Officer Alexandria Thomas said the 10 per cent increase would take effect from March 30, while back pay dating back to 2018 was paid last Friday.

“We have also negotiated some health and safety concerns which were expressed by the workers. We are going to continue to work with the company over the next three months. They have undertaken to do some works to address those health and safety issues,” Thomas said.

“The workers are quite happy with the increase that they have received and will continue to work with the company to ensure the process is smooth going forward.”

Meanwhile, senior bodywork man Jamal Noel, who was speaking on behalf of the workers, says they are happy and comfortable again.

“They get back page, wage increase – a wage increase which we haven’t had in 12 years. It is a lot of comfort again and workers feel ready to work again and support UCAL of course, because this is our company too. We also had some health and safety issues settled that were going on for too long.”

It was on February 15 that workers at UCAL downed tools and representatives from the BWU were called in.

At the time, BWU general secretary Toni Moore said: “There are a number of proposals that were submitted by the union as far back as April 2019. Most of these proposals were settled, but even in some areas where settlement has been reached, the settlement has not been applied . . . .

“Currently 20 outstanding grievances are on the table, many of them relating to health and safety and allowances and conditions and situations surrounding assignments where workers are being apportioned blame and assignments not given in a favourable enough way that the workers can undertake the work that has been given to them and yet they’re being blamed,” she said. (PR/SAT)

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