Is Government Deceiving Workers?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Workers in this country would have breathed a collected sigh of relief when Parliament passed the Employment Rights Act. That act ushered in a series of reforms that are intended to introduce a previously unknown level of fairness in the employer/employee relationship. The introduction of this act was resisted for a number of years by both employers and trade unions for different reasons: employers and their representatives were used to the one-sided relationship and were fighting to the bitter ends to hold on to the almost feudal system that currently exists; and unions, one in particular, were used to brute force to resolve disputes which would now be replaced by a rules based system that required a hitherto unpractised intellectual approach. Even though both sides opposed the legislation, for different reasons, it is in effect a first step in the right direction.

The Governor-General gave his assent to the Employment Rights Act on May 18, 2012; and it was brought into force on May 24, 2012 when it was published as a supplement to Official Gazette N0. 43 dated that same day. May 24th should have been celebrated as a landmark for the protection of workers’ rights. Instead, it will go down as a day of infamy since the Employment Rights Act was the law of the land for a mere 25 days.

Without fanfare the act was again published as a supplement to Official Gazette No. 52 dated June 18, 2012. This time around the date of commencement of the act was removed and substituted with a notation that it would be brought into force on a date fixed by proclamation.

As far as I am aware, the Employment Rights Act is the law of the land and has been in force since May 24, 2012 since that date was notified as the date of commencement in the Official Gazette. This unorthodox procedure to delay its implementation would not suffice. If Government was persuaded to suspend the operation of the act, it should have gone to Parliament and passed a resolution to do so.

Government owes the people of this country an apology and an explanation. This act took several years to come to fruition: this delay in implementation does not speak well for the Government’s worker protection credentials.

0 thoughts on “Is Government Deceiving Workers?

  1. Onions & Honesty is the Best Policy

    I truly do not know or understand what is going on. I do not know if it is a mistake or if the Governor-General signed the proclamation and it was pulled back because influential people exerted pressure on Government. What I can tell you is that neither political party, even though the word “labour” forms part of their names, cannot really be considered labour parties since labour issues and the welfare of workers are not their priorities.

    I am not just blowing hot air, I can demonstrate what I am saying by citing examples:

    In 1990 I was a member of a committee that was making recommendations for an occupational pensions benefit act. That act was finally passes in 2003 but was only brought into force in February 2011;

    The Health and Safety at Work Act was passed in 2005, to date it is not in force and we are hearing promises from the Minister of Labour to bring it into force in the new year;

    The Employment Rights Act was being drafted for more than ten years; and

    The Public Service Act also took in excess of ten years to be brought into force in an extremely flawed state. Government made amendments in 2010 but they only made matters worse.

    I can therefore say without fear of sensible contradiction that BLP or DLP pays only lip-service to the workers issues. That is also true for the major trade unions all of which have aligned themselves to political parties to the detriment of workers.

  2. @ Caswell
    Any suggestions as to what can be done to address this situation (apart of course from bushie’s proposal which involves YOU leading the establishment of a cooperative party called BUP)?

    • Bushie

      Before anyone sits in a cabinet, he/she should be required to attend some sort of orientation class that would take them through the paces. Even after four years, the members of the Government are behaving like rookies. They have not taken time out to find out how they should conduct themselves. Imagine a minister of the Crown involving himself in deciding which messenger drives a particular vehicle. Well believe me that has happened.

  3. You are correct about the micro management, but wrong about the training / orientation solving anything.
    Man Casie, these people have HIDDEN agendas. It is not that they are idiots. You could orientate them for weeks, they will still take bribes, favor family and yard fowls and definitely favor their financiers.

    This is why we need a super supervisory committee to audit them and prosecute the SOBs.

    • Bushie

      You may very well be right about the hidden agendas and the bribes. However, I am certain that there is need for independent oversight with teeth. It cannot be a good system where the Prime Minister is solely responsible for discipline and control of his fellow ministers. At present, it looks like the PM does not have the balls to discipline his ministers out of fear that they will take him out on election night if they are returned to power. Incidentally, if he had any power over his ministers, he would have fitted Kellman with a muzzle by now.

  4. @BAFBFP | October 9, 2012 at 7:17 PM |


    u said ‘No comments…ha ha ha’ why is that? can u not make any sound comments


  5. @ Caswie
    I hope you get a chance to pose your question tonight at the Nation’s Forum…or maybe at The UWI lecture … may have to ask one question here …leave and go ask another question somewhere else…goodness gracious..

  6. If the Nation wants to influence politics in Barbados why don’t they form a Party?
    They would do well to give a shot at being a professional, investigative, trusted news agency….for a change.

    • The government has painted itself in a corner given its taciturn communications policy. Their unwillingness to send representatives to talk shows staged by private media houses has shaped public perception.

      That said it is unreasonable for the Nation to expect the government to attend a talk back forum staged by the on the eve of a general election, the obvious reason it interrupts the government’s election strategy (BU assumes there is a strategy being incubated). Bear in mind government has been represented at previous talkbacks.

  7. @ Bush Tea | October 10, 2012 at 2:19 PM |

    What about the Advocate? Or is the owner right at the head table already influencing and financing a particular political party until it loses the government and is unable to deliver the much promised TV licence. He could consider buying CBC If the DLP wins again since it will be up for sale win lose or draw.

  8. Onions

    There is no need for me to pose the question at any other forum. In any event the Government would not be represented since they declined the invitation.

    I have highlighted the issue and it is left to others who are interested in the rule of law to follow up. As I have pointed out before, I do not have the financial resources to mount legal challenges to Government’s continued breaches of the law. If I had the funds, I would have mounted legal challenges to:
    The increase in road tax; and
    The increase in water rates.
    Both of which were implemented in breach of the relevant law. The blowhard Opposition has promised similar action but has never followed up. Maybe there is some tacit understanding between the BLP and DLP that they will go thus far and no farther when they are playing at representation of the people. You would notice that despite strong allegations of corruption, no politician is ever prosecuted or even investigated. Please don’t start up with integrity legislation again; it would only be as effective as the politicians want it to be.

  9. @ Harry callihan | October 10, 2012 at 4:46 PM |

    Harry, you are just one wicked motherfu**er. A true blue Bajan redneck. But what you are saying and showing is true and for that I respect you. The vehicles are just too much for this 2×3 place. Only making Japanese and Koreans along with Kiffyn and Trinis rich.
    Don’t worry ‘Bacra Johnny’, the IMF and the IADB will soon cut them down to size.
    You know very well that blacks grin, skin their teeth and shuffle their feet at whites because they worship you guys as gods and angels like Jesus and others in the Bible.

    What I would like you, Redlegs, to do is to highlight the garbage piling up, overgrown places and detritus on the pothole and crumbling roads in order to shame the authorities into doing something about it.

  10. David

    The lack of responses to this post has proven the point that Barbadians are too docile. Anywhere else in the world, totalitarian regimes excepted, workers would have protested the actions of Government in this regard. It appears that successive administrations know only too well that Barbadians are a bunch of blowhards that will do nothing to protest the loss of their hard-fought gains. You should recall that Barbadians did not speak up when Government introduced measures to decrease the value of the NIS pension and also extended the retirement age for pension purposes to 67. In France workers rioted when the same thing was done there. Mind you, am not advocating a riot but at least workers and their representatives could have at the very least signalled their displeasure.

    Maybe, our docility is why Barbadian slaves were so highly prized. To this day the average Barbadian would still make a good slave. Then again Government has set up a monument to good slaves at Rock Hall, St. Thomas in honour of those slaves who received monetary rewards for not taking part in the so called Bussa Revolution.

  11. @ Caswell
    I don’t thinks so….David in submission heaven….Don’t you see the number of journalist in here nowadays? Writers queuing up bosie

    • Onions

      The point that I am trying to make is that Barbadians surrender their rights much too easily. Further, I have been following politics since the early 1970s and never before in all these years have I seen Government act with such utter disregard for the laws and conventions. This group is really a lawless bunch and no one is even trying to rein them in. One of these days if we are not careful, we will wake to find that the Government has suspended the Constitution and rule as they like. The time might soon be here: you see how close the country is coming to a constitutional crisis if the election date is not announced shortly.

    • @Caswell

      We need to name and shame these people who flout the law. It is the only way. There names emblazoned on the Internet for the world to see.

  12. Like you want to dry up the source of JWK for a DLP.fowler ….that would be a good thing….. maybe now a ole sea dogoer would be able to get more PURCHASED DUTY FREE….lol …GIVE HIM UP CASWIE…blow D horn…PRAMPPPPPP !! Lets grill the louse…who he is ?

  13. Page 1 of BarbadosToday showed 2 school children who they claimed were sent home for being improperly dressed.

    I do not see anything wrong with the way the children are dressed.

    Is it possible that they photographed the wrong students?

    • Give me a break: I am new to this thing. I was messing around with the iPad and next thing you know, I am reblogging. AC made the first comment and I appreciate it even though she was wrong, and now you an of course I am looking forward for Bushie.

  14. BAFBFP you gone pun de man blog as a impersonater. Well I just out yuh.
    Uh hope de cropova chick does read de blogs.

  15. We need somebody to start a Bajan shiiite talk blog.

    BU is nuff politics and Intellectual combat.

    BAFBFP why you dont start one.

  16. @ Caswell
    Bushie done check out your blog, but the bushman ain’t posting a pang on there, you think Bushie just born? You probably done got some kinda scheme there to detect Bushie IP address and phone number……and we done know you can’t keep like David… 🙂

  17. Hants

    So wah you tellin’ me, that I is a shite talker … MURDA … HA HA HA. Me? But thought that all along you did teking me seriously … Cas use to until he get the impression that I comfortable tekkin’ poles … HA HA HA. Man lef my women nah …


    (If you gotta cuss somebody, in order to get past wordpress and be accurate in your comment simplified Chinese is the way to go … got the idea from my intelligent agent …)

  18. @ Caswell

    That hurts, and I thought you were my friend.”
    LOL Casie! Friends forever….Up and on.
    ….but remember that Bushie knows you VERY well 🙂
    Even when you come around to forming the BUP and taking up the position of chairman of the National Supervisory Committee, Bushie will still keep a safe distance…. LOL

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