Barbados Workers Union Boots CTUSAB

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Sir Leroy Trotman (l), Minister of Labour Byer-Sukoo (r)

Sir Leroy Trotman (l), Minister of Labour Byer-Sukoo (r)

For some time, we have warned that the trade union movement in Barbados was being marginalized. The coziness with employers brought about by the so-called Social Partnership, has long been a cause of concern to the Mahogany Coconut Group. The frequent love fests of the employers’ representatives and the union bosses were brilliant public relations stunts designed to fool those who don’t understand the treachery inherent in such exercises.” – Mahogany Coconut Blog 1/11/2013

BWU General Secretary, Sir Roy Trotman said more specifically, his union’s decision to cut ties with CTUSAB was simply put , in an effort to prevent a deliberate effort to marginalize the Barbados Workers Union…………….He explained that this meant his organization would not have a voice at the Social partnership.” – Barbados Today, 19/04/2013

We are not in the business of saying: We told you so. At the same time, we must state that the rumblings in the so-called Social Partnership have been rampant for some time. However, they reached a peak when the BWU refused to back down from its stance with LIME and certain politicians already in bed with LIME wanted to pressure the union.

The BWU is seen as the major block, by some power breakers, in selling our country lock stock and barrel in the name of privatization. We are aware of Sir Roy’s political journey and it has its historical birth in pro masses thinking and political orientation. We are therefore not surprised that he cannot abandon his philosophical moorings to accommodate political opportunism, cronyism and economic blackmail, as his leadership of the BWU reaches retirement. He would not want a legacy of having sold out the workers. We therefore stand squarely behind him on this occasion.

What we find even more alarming is the charge by Sir Roy of a conspiracy between the Ministry of Labour and other “trade unionists” to undermine the BWU. While we cannot identify the other trade unionists, we publicly call on the current Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer- Suckoo to respond to Sir Roy’s charges which are essentially against the Government of Barbados. This charge by Sir Roy cannot be taken lightly.

We will not be moved from our position that those who are promising the world, if the unions were to disappear, did the same thing under Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. We warn workers in Barbados and the entire Caribbean, that the destruction of Unions will be the final blow against true social and economic justice. We are now seeing the results of Reagan/Thatcher policies, as countries climb to higher levels of unemployment, while the employers get richer and richer. We were therefore stunned, to say the very least, when Margaret Thatcher was so lionized on her recent passing. She and Reagan tried to dismantle the trade union movements in their countries.

We have some of similar ilk amongst us, and they must not be allowed to hold the sword of unemployment over the heads of workers, in order to get their way and execute the final rape of not only Barbados but the entire region.

The Social Partnership is nothing more than political/ corporate public relations. We firmly believe that its value to the trade union movement and workers is nothing more than a dangerous mirage.

175 thoughts on “Barbados Workers Union Boots CTUSAB

    • @Caswell

      There is logic in the government’s position. For argument’s sake if the BWU had remained in the partnership CTUSAB as the umbrella body would be more representative of the workers. Instead we have the politics being played out. One thing is sure, CTUSAB has no teeth without the BWU.

    • David

      The Government’s position is the only tenable one. Time has come in this country when people have to be honest with themselves and stop giving into fear of the big bad Sir Leroy. Many times he comes up with very unreasonable positions and people including Government cave in because they are afraid of Trotman’s threats. Even the media refuse to call a spade a spade when dealing with BWU because they fear the backlash.

      He is only the giant that those that are fearful of him make him out to be. This time around the wimpish Executive Council has allowed him to bring the union into disrepute. It is time that Sir Leroy depart the scene and take Cedric Murrell along with him.

    • Sorry, I hit send before I had finished.

      David, you claimed that the CTUSAB would be more representative if BWU had remained in the congress. Pray tell me; When has CTUSAB ever represented the interest of workers?

    • Absolutely not David! The way to judge CTUSAB’s performance and indeed the performance of any union is how it has represented the interests of its members. Unfortunately, all the major unions have aligned themselves to the DLP and they are behaving more like party politicians than trade unionists. The stable industrial environment in this country is as a result of the labour movement selling out.

    • @Caswell

      Please take a few minutes to teach us IR 101. If the respective unions have not been representing members interest as you suggest, is it not logical that this would be reflected from the floor and by extension guide the decisions of the executives?

    • David

      Guidance from the floor is basic in trade unionism and that is what I have been taught over the years. When I was first involved in trade unionism from 1980 that used to be the case, but more and more workers are becoming disillusioned the leaders that have emerged and are staying away from union meetings. For example, NUPW has in excess of 10,000 members or so they claim and find it extremely difficult to muster a quorum for general meetings. More so than not, meetings are abandoned for lack of a quorum. So much for guidance from the floor. Because of this disinterest a lot of intellectually subnormal people like Mamoney have emerged to lead.

      The established unions in Barbados have now become the agents of corruption and decadence. Somehow, this new leadership is mainly concern with job advancement for themselves, overseas trips, embezzlement of union funds and sexual exploitation of staff and young members who they should be guiding.

      Unions need to refocus on the reason for their existence and keep away from party politics.

  1. So wait who will be there to lend a sympathetic ear and maybe a numb shoulder…in a couple of months when all these people from statutory corporations wakeup one day and hear they .got the boot? All this tip toe thru the tulips and hopscotch that going on is for a reason..make no bones about it…Sukoo done know she has the dice warming in her hands, Sir Roy and the NUPW too…More questions than answers but definitely more than the mortar in d pestal …unna watch

  2. move over “SIS” suckoo you are about to be pummelled by Sir roy and his supporters! come on,,, you know better than that to be allowed to be used by the powerbrokers of this system who wants to gut the remaining assests of this little island. . now come on sister you think nobody would notice when a brother is being dis an the real reason . After all many of us have seen how hard Sir Roy worked and fight many battles for the underdog and you think the supporters going take that alibi as reason.

    BTW CASWELL Most couldn’t give a c///t how many women siR roy sleep with i got a description fuh people like u and it ain’t pretty.;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  3. ”The stable industrial environment”

    Oh dear….bit of an oxymoron…. not anymore….we are about to enter the hardest period since independence….and it wont be short.

    Unions are now irrelevant. It is now about getting things productive and money flowing, all else to the backburner.

    If in any doubt, you will soon find out.

    The ‘good old days’ are gone.

  4. The prior state of ‘stable industrial environment’ had more to do with bajans’ strong sense of self preservation than anything else….really…

    Bajans, no matter what wunna says, know where their bread comes from and is buttered.

    A bajan would say, yeah, leh we march, come next morning, you out there alone marching, he home safe in the armchair, knowing that come Friday, he getting he pay to buy food and wunna could suck salt.

    Who could blame a man who knows reality?

  5. @Caswell 8.12pm
    I think Murrell is thinking of Shakespeare JC 4.3.”There is a tide in the affairs of men which,taken at the flood,leads on to fortune;Omitted,all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries.On such a sea are we now afloat,and we must take the current when it serves,or lose our ventures.
    There is no way that CTUSAB will renege on taking control of the reins which lead to Geneva and centre stage.If Leroy is speaking with a forked tongue,good for those who want to believe him.I don’t and all this foolisheness about the council asking hime to stay on is bluff and banzai.Move on Leroy,gracefully.

  6. It would be interesting to hear the academic bacground of these guys who will be occupying centre stge at Geneva.We were accustomed to seasoned representation in the BWU by the likes of Frank Walcott,Hugh Springer,Grantley Adams,Leroy,LeVere,Bobby,Evelyn,Lawrence and some females whose name I do not now recall.The BWU had brain power as well as shouting power.All unions have shouting power,even BIGWU when they shouted in the Fairchild Street car park in front of Leo Leacock’s office in the 70’s or 80’s but they did not have the brain power to realize their stupidity and so they bit the dust,never more to rise.Is CTUSAB possessed of the brain power?Or is it that they are DLP sympathisers .No it cannot be that because word on the block is that the Dems now getting even with Leroy for helping to bring down the Sandy administration.Pay back time Leroy!

  7. @ David

    We are disturbed by the state of the unions in Barbados, and elsewhere. If these descriptions are correct, and we have no sustainable counter-narrative, what are the people waiting for? Is it not time to turn the page? Uproot these systems and people and run them out of town, literally.

  8. @Pacha

    Not possible at this time. There is a high level of apathy. Did you not follow the recent NUPW election? One thousand voters out of a 10 thousand membership?

  9. @ David
    That is precisely our point. When 90% of membership is voting with their feet they are thinking other thoughts, they see what we see and are ready to consider alternatives. Our job is to try to articulate those alternatives. Mark our words. Trade unions will never be popular again, political parties will never be popular again – not under the present system. So this is not the beginning of an end, its the end of the beginning.

  10. @Pacha

    As you know it took awhile for the Berlin Wall to tumble but when it started it fell quickly. There is a process which precipitates events which we must endure. It is painful BUT necessary.

  11. So since there are those among us who have ideas why not start the ball rolling and let see if the great USA would back us .THe Berlin wall fell not because of a democratic society but for reasions that the USA determined was communistic and not in line with Freedom and civil Rights of its people

  12. @ David

    The Berlin Wall that is Barbados was erected long before its name sake in the other place. So there is no time to waste

  13. We are now living in the era of transparency and accountability. And therefore, there is no need to wait until events transpire, before we can take quick and decisive action.

  14. I believe that any organization that operates within that scope of a democratic model. Should at all cost be guided by the principles of checks and balances? Any organization that seeks to operation outside the scope of this framework should be deemed undemocratic.

  15. The labor union has been in bed with management for quite sometime now. I personal saw the change some two decade a decades.

  16. An updated hot of the press list of who is who of BWU:

    Gen Sec – Sir Roy Trotman
    Dep Gen Sec/Dir. Research – Veronica Griffith
    Dep Gen Sec/Dir Indus Relations – Toni Moore-Bascombe
    Dep Gen Sec/Princ Labour College – Doreen Deane
    Dep Gen Sec/Financial Controller – Destry Jones

    Ass’t Gen. Sec- Dionne Howard- (Toni Moore-Bascombe’s first cousin)
    Indus Relations Officer – Sean Scott (Gabby Scott’s son)
    Indus Relations Officer – Marsha Greenidge (E LeVere Richards’ daughter)
    Indus Relations Officer – Lisa “Lisa Vitton” Holder ( SWIFTly moving up)
    Consultant IRO – Michael Alleyne (former Pres. C&W division)

  17. “We are not in the business of saying: We told you so. At the same time, we must state that the rumblings in the so-called Social Partnership have been rampant for some time. However, they reached a peak when the BWU refused to back down from its stance with LIME and certain politicians already in bed with LIME wanted to pressure the union.”

    this is crap…what real benefits did the workers of LIME got? the BWU was always and will always work for the employer on the pretext of looking after the interest of the employee. union members are literally allowing these organisations to blind them with silly hand outs. it is only because leroy trotman could not get his way that he decided to come out of the umbrella group, so what. big deal

  18. OSA is this morning commenting on Sir Roy’s actions and backing Sir Roy. Both of them are pathetic men. OSA argument is that tried things should not be thrown away. Even ideas live out their usefulness. Socialism and Communism are now relics that the so called learned of the 50s to the 80s give credence to. Given who is coming after Sir Roy, shall there be a BWU in ten years?

    • Lemuel

      After reading Arthur’s comments, I was able to conclude that both he and Trotman are relics of the past, and are refusing to allow younger people,who are still in control of their faculties, to take over. Both of them have the mistaken belief that things would fall apart if they are not in control. As a result, they are doing more harm than good to the institutions that they won’t let go of.

      Fortunately, for the country, Arthur has been deposed but Trotman refuses to acknowledge that he is no longer relevant.

      By the way, the members of NUPW voted to withdraw from CTUSAB three years ago and Mamoney and Clarke refused to carry out the decision f Conference.

  19. Caswell
    I hope you are positioning UNITY is play the part it needs to play in the Trade Union Movement of this country. The relics are dying rapidly.

    OSA looked truly pathetic this morning; it is if he is begging for another chance, but in his time he did not relinquish one iota. OSA remember your pen and shaking it at senior civil servants with Erskine Grffith laughing like a cheshire cat; the big fool that he shall always be. To think that Erskine Griffth was a Head of the Civil Service only because he was OSA room mate. OSA remember those decisions as you ride into the sunset. Barbados shall survive.

  20. wether OSA is a relic or yesterday news the TRUTH is that HE commands and gets respect from his followers and that is all that matters. The BLP did not win election or lost the election because OSA is a relic but for other mitigating circumstances . I predict that with MAm being the youngest her leadership style is not going to be as favourable as that of OSA even up to the present. Yes OSA makes for good political banter but even in his older years he still is most favoured political leader for the BLP amongst his followers.

  21. Just at such a critical time when everyone should be pulling together in the national interest. Its mind boggling!

  22. Adrien i agree. however hearing such a comment coming from you is mindblowing given the tenor and provocative nature of your articles ..Thefact is that people are angry at a sytem that have allowed the rich to get rich at the blood and sweat of the average hard working bajan whose only accomplishment is a car and a mortgage …..questions how can a nation pulled together under an “upsided down system”which favours the “haves”

  23. ac,

    I think that’s a little unfair. I come from a poor working class family where my father abandoned my mother and three young sons, when I was 7 years old. After being hospitalised for nearly 4 years, I was not allowed to sit the 11 plus school examination. I started my first job at 12, working in markets like Romford, Chelmsford and Petticoat Lane and selling household products door-to-door a year later. I left school at 14 and started travelling the world. I bought my first house at the age of 19 and had paid for it in full by the age of 20. I assure you that very little (if any) of anything that I have
    accomplished has come easy and it wouldn’t have been possible without a dedicated wife and employees that have helped achieve our collective successes. I am immensely proud to have helped a few people along the way, including our longest serving room maid, who through her efforts and our support has put all four of her children through University. Something, my family could not have even dreamed about.
    I still work 14 hours a day, seven days a week, as I have done for most of the last 25 years on Barbados.
    Sometimes, you have to look at the bigger picture and not be quite so quick to judge, when you do not know the facts.
    I cannot see preventive obstacles to any Barbadian that would want to replicate my endeavours, if they want to put in the work. And if anything its a lot easier for them now with the availability of a free education.

  24. Adrien i am not pointing my finger at you but at a system which has been outsmart and outmanuevered by those who claim to have the answer and can assists in building this country all the while govts holding their hands .. I have heard your story and understand the disconnect yu might have but there is a real feeling that foreigner investors get a better chance than homegrown entrepeneurs who cant even as much as set foot in the door. Not your fault but that is a reality we face.

  25. I was beginning to wonder why no comments…………..Bushie I cannot believe you mislead me about the ILO, they are now seriously coming down on the Bajan government, do you think that this government is willing to take on this huge union body?? How could you make me think they were just a frivolous organization with no teeth? Shame on you………..Bushie

  26. @ Well Well

    Not many people know that Sir Roy established the Congress of trade unions with assistance from the ILO. They paid for him to come here and meet with the Canadian Labour Congress for a week to examine its structure and operating procedures. Somehow along the way Leroy included employers and the government in the organisation, calling it a social partnership. He was a DLP in the house at the time and maybe he did it to pacify his politicos. I thought it was folly at the time and I still think it is. A union should keep employers at arms length. I personally thought he was getting into bed with the enemy.

    Another thing, he turned down an executive position at the ILO in order to continue serving his poor Bajan brothers and sisters. The UN has good benefits and allowances for family including education to age 25. The ILO is no different to UNCTAD, UNESCO, etc.

  27. Pat………………thanks for the info……….and these little sexist bajan guys are proud to say they use taxpayers dollars to go to the ILO conferences to have fun, don’t listen to any of the shite ILO talks and forget it when they return to Barbados, while effectively leaving women out of these conferences…………without even caring that their participation in these world bodies are vital to being able to access funding for a small needy island such as Bim…………ILO has big teeth and i hope they all get bitten in their backsides for their callous disregard of how much damage to the image of the island they are now causing……….including you Bushie.

  28. The link to the doc which has the ILO’s comments re remittance of earnings, refers to government not responding to queries by…….CTUSAB, of all people! Is this not ILO’s recognition of CTUSAB as the apex trade union body representing workers?
    Pat, your friend the Cardinal prefers to be a big fish in a tiny pond than just another small fish in a large ocean of the UN system. Had he worked full time in Geneva, who could he have threatened with island wide shutdowns? In the last stages even ILO did not want him around. His steam was going there in the first place to serve out the remainder of Sir Frank’s term. He managed to hold a bat on a very well rolled wicket that he found.

    I wonder if since BWU is now going to fight Human Trafficking and that type of abuse of women, if this means that the South American women will no longer be taken by the office at 2 am.

    • David

      Sir Roy did not get the last laugh: the ILO Credentials Committee was misled. BWU DOES NOT HAVE 25,000 MEMBERS. The last laugh has not happened yet.

  29. yeap ! and deservingly so. there are laws and rules which must be adhere to. in the international courts and organization, can’t use a third class mentality in a first class world unless one wants to be mocked and laughed at internationally. big ups to Sir ROy. numbers is what counts and he had them.. not the politics of the day.

  30. What a load of crap.
    What does this charade all cost again….?
    …and what are the benefits….apart from a few misfits getting to lounge off in a five star hotel in Europe annually….?

  31. @Caswell

    This means that Suckoo can’t be given a pass? As head of the labour ministry she would have access to union polling/membership and therefore in a position to challenge the credentials of the respective delegates.

    • David

      Of course, I would give Dr. Byer Suckoo a pass, she was not dealing with medicine which is her profession. Are you familiar with the term idiot savant? If you were, you would understand her inabilities.

  32. HA! HA! the numbers just don.t add up. the committe not a bunch oif dumb nitwits . absoluetly correct CTUSAB without BWU did not pass the test. HA! HA! and furthermore the ILO rules were breached by not having BWU voice at the table during the decision process. Take it away CASWELL …….

    • Note the part of the article which BU has bolded for emphasis. It was a Cabinet decision according to Suckoo  Obviously a misinformed position:

      Minister of Labour Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo.
      Government’s own version of the politics of inclusion, not an attempt to ostracise Senator Sir Roy Trotman, is the main reason why the veteran trade unionist will not be the main labour representative at an upcoming International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva.
      Breaking her silence today on the issue which led to Sir Roy’s Barbados Workers Union to withdraw from the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados last week, and prompted a CTUSAB response saying that organisation was simply following its rules after a Government invitation, Minister of Labour Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo said allegations of disrespect leveled at her ministry were misinterpreted.
      After decades of the BWU as an organisation, and Sir Roy as the delegate, representing the trade union movement and the annual ILO meeting, Government decided this month that it should include the wider labour movement under the umbrella body CTUSAB.
      Byer-Suckoo, who apologised to the BWU General Secretary today for any misunderstanding on the issue, said this was based on a Cabinet decision.
      “Every year the Government of Barbados attends the International Labour Conference and is invited to bring an official delegation comprised of two government, one employer and one worker, fully funded by the Government. Delegates may take advisors at their expense,” she explained.
      “For decades the BWU was invited to send a delegate, and that delegate for many years was Sir Roy. That invitation was based on the fact that the BWU was the largest trade union on the island, representing a wide cross section of workers.
      “However, it is the view of the Government that with the formation of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados as an umbrella organisation, the CTUSAB provides an even wider representation and the invitation to the ILC should be to CTUSAB, of which the BWU was a member,” she added.
      The minister said this opinion was “in keeping with the ILO’s definition of a representative body”.
      “Until recently, it was a fortuitous coincidence that the BWU’s General Secretary was the President of CTUSAB and the workers VP at the ILO. Therefore, no formal distinction was made, or even necessary then,” she pointed out.
      “The Cabinet this month agreed that, starting this year, the invitation to the ILC would go through CTUSAB. The idea was not to exclude the BWU but to include others and thereby achieve the widest representation.
      “CTUSAB would then select and recommend the delegate. It is my understanding that that was done by CTUSAB at a meeting of its Executive Board, at which time the BWU was a member of CTUSAB. Representation by the employers is also through its umbrella body the Barbados Employers Confederation,” she noted.
      Byer-Suckoo also pointed out that the current Social Partnership protocol and previous ones specifically named CTUSAB “as the representative body for workers and at meetings of the Social Partnership sub committee the workers have been represented by CTUSAB”.
      She hoped the current difficulties between the BWU and CTUSAB would be resolved for the benefit of Barbados.
      “The Ministry of Labour and the Government rely on the dialogue and collaboration with our stakeholders in the private sector and the trade unions. We will continue to work with CTUSAB and with the BWU. It is my hope that the parties will resolve their issues for a better Barbados for the workers and for us all,” she stated.
      Byer-Suckoo also praised Sir Roy and the BWU “for decades of invaluable service to the Government and people of Barbados through advocacy and contribution to legislation, policies, practices and conventions here at home and across the globe”.
      “Sir Roy’s contribution to the ILO has been sterling and he has made us particularly proud as he served as the workers VP at the ILO for 19 years, a post he resigned two years ago,” she said. (SC)

  33. That decsion was fuel by the political dictorate who use the govt as a tool trying to teach Sir ROY a lesson refrence to the so-called racial slur. DR byer suckoo is not a dumb person and should have known better than to be used by outside influence. .the comittee got it right leaving poitics out of the equation and giving the govt a black eyed

    • If there was no female affirmative policy Suckoo would be out long time. The DLP is struggling to find females to represent the party therefore the high tolerance.

  34. David
    BU must be congratulated for giving the nitty gritty detail of the incestuous
    relationship obtained in these small island,parochial,democracies so-called.
    Labour dues can never support the Mercedes/Beamer/Audi driving wannabees
    of the Labour movement,so a subvention from Govt will always open the door
    to duplicity and hypocrisy in some areas of the labour movement in Barbados.Freeness in some private sector entities will always be a pause to a cause that demands resistance and the good that might be done.

  35. Unfortunately fo suckoo she bend to the whims of thise who wanted to do-away with SIR and the end result has left here solely having egg on her face Not good.. taking control of a situation cannot be implemented and mandated by alternative motives. this coulld have been handle in the correct manner only by following the rules that govern the ILO and not one intrepretations of what the rules meant.

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