The channels of communication are open and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is well on its way to resolving some of the major issues which led to the staff strike which occurred last November.

Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo gave this assurance during a recent interview with the Barbados Government Information Service.

Dr. Byer Suckoo explained that while the creation of a performance assessment system for the statutory corporation and the determination of the requisite increments and promotions for staff would not be immediate, both management and workers were now committed to the task.

???I think the BWA, the management and the staff, are on a better footing now. They have begun to talk at a domestic level. I have agreed that they would use the expertise of the Labour Department and the Chief Labour Officer as they sit down to work out the increments issue. Then they will come back to me when they have something to report or if they hit a roadblock,??? she explained.

Noting that challenges such as these were not limited to the public sector, the Labour Minister observed that at the heart of the increments matter was ???performance not being documented properly. This means there are no objective criteria for promotion or rewards and these can therefore only be given on the basis of length of service. This then creates difficulties among colleagues who may be aware that the officer is not the most deserving. It, therefore, has to get into the psyche of Barbadians that we need to assess and document performance,” she said, stressing that performance appraisals were essential components for productivity in all work places.

Minister Suckoo added that the progress being made in this matter had led to dialogue on other pending issues, including the Ionics Water Project.

???I???ve been able to report to the Minister of Agriculture that the Ionics Project can start. We need to have that started because it is central to some of the major projects that Government needs to have going to get our economy turned around,??? she said, in reference to the project which will see the replacement of water mains on the South coast.

She also noted that with dialogue at this stage, it was envisaged that an IADB-funded water mains project could also be started in the near future.

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