Barbados Workers Union Has Become Irrelevant

Submitted by Philip Skeete
Sir Roy Trotman

Sir Roy Trotman

I should be grateful if you [BU]  would get in touch with Sir Roy and tell him that a strike by the members of the BWU will not cripple LIME operations in 2013. All Sir Roy will be doing is crippling the Barbados economy. LIME’s survival depends on people using cell phones. While the workers  are on strike, their idle fingers will be sending text messages to friends and family. Tops-up will be the order of the day.

Pointless boasting that the Union successfully took strike action for 3 weeks against the Telephone Company 31 years ago. Those were the days when radio telephone operators connected people  worldwide.Now every home in Barbados has a MagicJack [Skype] and while they are on strike, they will be giving their friends and family a blow by blow commentary on what is going on.

Those were the days when newspapers had to wait hours for Reuters and Associated Press stories. Today, MCTV, Direct TV and Satellite receivers mounted on top of  news media houses provide them with data before Reuters or Associated Press can get  it right. Remember the 9/11 attacks? FOX News and CNN brought the news into the homes of Barbadians. They didn’t have to wait till the following day like back in 1981 (Bartel strike) to get the news. Every day youngsters watch European football on MCTV or on satellite TV at bars all over Barbados. LIME doesn’t provide these services. Nobody is waiting for an operator to answer the phone at LIME to send a telegram to friends and family overseas, Sir Roy. MagicJack is there for that purpose.

Karib Cable, TeleBarbados and Digicel are there to provide back-up communications for cellphone contacts overseas. Nobody is waiting for the Transport Board to transport their children to and from school. The ZR and Minibus operators will clap their hands. They wouldn’t have to break the laws of Barbados to get a load for the days on which he calls out the Transport Board workers. It is time that Mr. Trotman ponders on these things and don’t make the silly mistakes which he made during the past decade of threatening Sandy Lane, Royal Shoppe, Almond Beach and others with strikes. Has he closed down these operations?

Ask Mr. Trotman if he remembers the days when the Trades Union Congress of England threatened to shut down Ford Motors, the Fleet Street newspapers, bus and railway transportation weekly? Gone are those days. Trade Unions worldwide are redefining themselves. Read the overseas paper Sir Roy. The largest  Trade Union ‘UNITE’ in the U.K has started a community membership programme which allows people, not necessarily union members , access to UNITE’s legal help-line, debt counselling  and assistance in claiming benefits. Volunteers are asked to contribute 50p per week to help with the programme. This came about because of the massive redundancies in Britain.

Mr. Trotman, you and your policies have become irrelevant  in the 21st century. Ask for help from the young IR experts who are frustrating you sitting opposite you at the negotiations tables

139 thoughts on “Barbados Workers Union Has Become Irrelevant

  1. Can’t you read and comprehend? The topic is whether the BWU has become irrelevant NOT if unions are irrelevant.

  2. balance it has become of recent “a common thread ” in david response to ac”NITPICKING” his form of UNION BUSTING” not going to work.

  3. This nonsense about calling in the Prime Minister to resolve an industrial relations dispute is an example of Sir Leroy polluting the processes for political gain, and misleading the entire country in the process. Arthur and Trotman popularised this new method of industrial relations and in the process, they have misled the country even trained practitioners.
    bro franklyn just askin but didn’t mr barrow and mr adams intervene in industrial disputes during their time in office?

  4. @Caswell

    Your point is understood but what is your view that the convention of PMs intervening in disputes ha been positive? You don’t agree?

    • David

      The PM intervening in the process has never been positive. It tended to diminish his office. If both sides feel right is on their side, let them test it before an arbitration panel. That would have strengthened the process. That act was in place since 1939 and has invoked less than five times, twice by me.

      Sent from my iPad

  5. @david 6:52
    You should say has been dressed up to look positive. 🙂

    Appearances count for more than reality. Two actors can stage an excellent fight then go for a whiskey after.

    Just Observing

  6. Today should have been the second day of the general strike, but not to worry if it has been pushed back by a couple of days.

    LIME will get the message one way or the other.

  7. i find it hard to believe that the BWU would have been aware since JUNE 2012 that this LIME was doing this, they were aware,. the workers were asked to managed the shops NONE were brave enough to give a try but the minute someone on the outside decided to manage the outlets, they are creating a fuss… typical of bajans

    the unions in Barbados fight for the wrong things, other unions overseas fight for and achieve better working conditions, pensions etc the only thing these unions in the Barbados seemed to think that they are for are only good for is pay increases and job disputes. in any case check carefully and see that the worker is ALWAYS disadvantaged ion Barbados. the employers ALWAYS get their way not the workers. when it comes to salary negotiations especially in government. the PM would tell the union how much of an increase he will give the workers, the union will in turn report to the workers that ‘we are negotiating’. this will take some months but at the end, the union will accept just what the PM ha told them from the very beginning, the union then will give a press release that government has agreed to give such and such an amount lol…that is why i will never join any union in Barbados, the same thing happens in private too. we all know that they meet private with the employers and ask them what they want, the foolish, simple employees really believe unions work for them. keep ur money.

    this situation will end just like the Sandy Lane and Royal Shop issue, THOSE WORKERS AT LIME WILL NEVER BE RE-HIRED…

  8. @Carson 14Jan 7.54p
    Tom Adams was never accused of receiving millions of dollars belonging to people who deposited hard earned money into an insurance company as a means of improving their lot in life.Tom was known for other activities however,including a love for the ladies of Barbados.His death certificate was never an issue either.One was issued by the approved authority.Perhaps unknown to blinkered folk like yourself,Tom had an appointment for March 21st or 22nd , with a Harley Street specialist for the heart condition we all knew he had.I recall a DLP operative writing a letter to the press challenging the authorities to disturb the burial place and conduct a post mortem.This operative was the butt of Tom’s incisive virulence every time he,the operative, rose in the Parliament to speak.
    Let us agree,the operative had the last word….

  9. Gabriel Tackle
    “Tom was known for other activities however,including a love for the ladies ”

    You forgot to mention his other two loves:-

    The WHITE STUFF that messes with brain

    His love of beating up women and breaking their bones.

  10. Smooth Chocolate

    You are absoulutely correct. The BWU will be satisfied when they get a bit larger severance package for the workers. In the end LIME will agree to the increased payout and everyone will be happy that a islandwide strike has been averted.

    By the way is it right that a union can shut down or attempt to shut down an entire country because it has a dispute with 1 employer?

  11. adrian

    “By the way is it right that a union can shut down or attempt to shut down an entire country because it has a dispute with 1 employer?”

    Short answer,YES.

    • Sight of Sir Leroy at the meeting this evening suggesting he is physically under stress.

      Early report is that industrial action has been placed on hold until next meeting on Friday at 2.30PM.

  12. @Nostradamus | January 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM |
    “By the way is it right that a union can shut down or attempt to shut down an entire country because it has a dispute with 1 employer”

    does not matter, this is Barbados, it has NEVER worked. i vaguely remember when the DLP introduced the 8% cut on civil servants, they were told to walk up and down bridgetown and what happen? they still got the 8% cut from their salaries, some even lost a day’s pay and others lost their jobs while at the same time the PM hired his friends and associates to fill the jobs that were made vacant ….nothing will come out of this dispute in favour of the workers, whether they shut down the country or shut up their mouths NOTHING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WILL BE IN FAVOUR OF LIME’S WORKERS

  13. I am completely flabbergasted by the report in the Nation about the PM’s mediation efforts. The first thing that came to my mind is an old saying, “monkey handling musket”.

    I am hoping that the report about chastising LIME is inaccurate because it would tend to show that the PM is completely ill-prepared for the role of a mediator. Some might say that he is ill-prepared for the role of PM but I digress. Rule 1 in mediation; the mediator does not chastise either party in the dispute in the presence of the other, and then you do not give a public running commentary on the proceedings to embarrass anyone.

    Also, I would like to find out what is the authority if the Minister of Labour that LIME was supposed to have repudiated. The Minister does not have any role in these matters. When the Minister intervene in an industrial dispute he/she is merely lending the prestige of the office of Minister in an effort to bring about a settlement. PM, if you want the Minister to have authority in disputes, put the necessary legislation in place. Currently, the authority of the Minister is restricted to receiving reports from the Chief Labour Officer. Please refer to the Labour Department Act.

  14. @Well Well | January 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM |
    “As for Donville, he better be careful his arrogance don’t see him one day walking bim in slippers, now he has a disgusting and slimy attitude.?

    U pick that up too? i encountered him once and fought hard not to vomit…he literally crawls my skin. he is extremely arrogant too but come the day after elections, he will come down off that high horse

  15. @Waiting | January 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM |
    ” This apartheid relic is ordering black teachers to strike, to disrepect their black government and break the law. Government must not cannot yield one inch to Frost the Nazi”

    u sound like some proper ass…when did a strike constituted breaking the law?”

  16. @Georgie Porgie | January 14, 2013 at 6:06 PM |
    “I have dealt with some simple, kind white folk in Barbados, who have lots of respect for even blacks that succeed”

    i can tell u are in ur 50s or up. u have the same mentality of those old people from way back when… the only white folk who might have ‘lots of respect for blacks that succeed” would be those who grew up overseas, that were exposed to various cultures etc not these ignorant bajan whites, who somehow believe that bajan blacks find them fascinating. why not listen to what they say about u blacks when they assumed that blacks cannot hear them? SMH

    • PM Stuart brokers a deal?

      Sir Roy: Victory!


      An agreement was brokered early this morning between the Barbados Workers’ Union and the telecommunications company LIME, after close to 12 hours of deliberations between the two entities, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, and it is being classified by the Union as a victory for the labour movement.

      The meeting, which got underway just after its scheduled 2:30 p.m. start on Friday
      afternoon, saw several representatives of each entity, as well as representatives of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, the Labour Department headed by Chief Labour Officer, and the Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, converge at the Bay Street offices, for what would be hours of deliberations. The meeting was promised earlier this week by Prime Minister Stuart, who said then, that it was necessary to hammer out the issues that had been raised, explaining that they had “not resolved the outstanding issues that would result in a return to normalcy”.

  17. Pingback: Barbados union, LIME reach agreement over dismissals | just telling it as it is

  18. If what is being said is true about LIME having to apologize to the workers, BWU MoL and the people of Barbados for its incompetent actions and its maligning of the workers then ALEX MCDONALD MUST RESIGN OR BE FIRED.

    If what is being said about the true reasons for the termination of the workers is genuine then he is a blasted liar and dangerous person to be in charge of people in this day and age after what workers have been through in the last 5 years of utter turmoil and economic dislocation and pressure caused by the likes of that incompetent bully.


  19. Wait, will someone correct me if I am wrong? Did I hear the Duke of York said tonight that he is drafting the apology HE wants from LIME?

    Well, if he is writing what he wants to hear, maybe he should then take it as the apology!

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