The Caswell Franklyn Column – Union Rules to Remember

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

BU shares the Caswell Franklyn Nation newspaper column – he is the General Secretary of Unity Workers Union and BU Contributor.

Union rules to remember – Added 23 August 2015

FOR SOME TIME I have been inundated with queries […] from mostly public sector workers about their terms and conditions of service.

However, it seems that I have been answering the same set of questions from several different persons.

Related articles

I have, therefore, decided to use this space intermittently to respond to some of the more pressing enquiries. Today, I will start with two.

Within the last two months, I have seen stepped up interest by prison officers who want to become members of trade unions even if secretly. Sadly, I have to point out to them that it is an offence for prison officers to join or even associate with trade unions. That restriction was imposed by Parliament in 1982.

When I first joined the NUPW in 1980 I found a very vibrant prison officers’ division that was active in all aspects of union life. In those days, I was only an ordinary member and was therefore not privy to the circumstances that led several prison officers to ask Government to amend the Prisons Act to provide for a prison officers’ association. “Be careful what you ask for, you might get it” springs to mind. The officers got their association but it turned out to be little more than a social club.

Bear in mind that prior to the passage of those amendments in 1982, prison officers enjoyed the constitutional right of freedom of association. Without the nicety of a constitutional amendment, a Barbados labour party administration swept away those rights.

Worse, they made it a criminal offence for prison officers to join trade unions and banned the association from engaging in trade union type activity. Section 24A (3) states:

“No representation may be made by the Prison Officers Association in relation to any question of discipline, promotion, transfer, posting, leave or other matters that affects an individual member of the association”.

Subsection (4) mandates that the association shall be independent of, and unassociated with, any association outside the Prison Service. Mind you, when it suited Government’s purposes, the association was allowed to associate and become a member of the Government-inspired and controlled Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB). My advice to prison officers is that they are not obliged to pay dues to an organisation that cannot legally represent them.

Appointed public officers are entitled to 21 days sick leave per year; temporary officers are entitled to 14. When officers exceed their allotted sick leave entitlement, they are normally granted extensions of sick leave with pay, for up to one year, once that leave is certified by a medical practitioner. A practice is creeping in where officers in that position are being granted extensions of sick leave on half pay or, in many instance, without pay. Having already received full salary for the period, officers are being told by the Personnel Administration Division that they are required to repay what is being called overdrawn salary. Sometimes, this notice arrives years after the fact. This in effect means that appointed public officers receive no sickness benefits like their private sector counterparts.

In order to understand why this is unjust, it is necessary to go back to the establishment of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). Under that scheme, private sector workers and temporary officers in the Public Service are entitled to a maximum of 312 days sickness benefit. No provisions for NIS sickness were made for permanently appointed public officers because they were already entitled to one year’s sick leave with pay, in accordance with the General Orders for the Public Service. General Order 5.24.1 states:

“Extensions of leave with full pay may be granted on the ground of ill-health to any officer other than a casual employee for a period not exceeding six calendar months, and when there is reason to believe that the officer will ultimately be fit for further service, for a further period not exceeding six calendar months”.

There is no provision in the General Orders for the Chief Personnel Officer to grant anything other than an extension of sick leave with pay. Put another way, there is nothing in the General Orders called an extension of sick leave without pay or on half pay. Such a thing does not exist in the rules.

Temporary officers who are entitled to receive NIS sickness benefits are required to pay in their NIS sickness benefit in exchange for their full salary in accordance with General Order 5.18.1.

Government as an employer must honour its commitments to its workers if for no other reason than it must set the example for other employers to follow. Increasingly, Government is becoming, if it has not already done so, one of the worst employers in this country.

Caswell Franklyn is the general secretary of Unity Workers Union and a social commentator. Email

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105 Comments on “The Caswell Franklyn Column – Union Rules to Remember”

  1. Dompey August 26, 2015 at 9:42 PM #

    Caswell Franklyn

    Caswell, you know or I am quite sure you have heard of the reputation associated with the customs department in Barbados, and yet you have insisted that camera-surveillance is a bad idea.

    Man I want to know where have you been living for the past three decades because only someone who has arisen from his or her comatose-state or has been hit in the back of the head with a blunt object would think that camera-surveillance in our modern day and time is a bad idea.

    Listen! I can’t name any institution in this country that isn’t without some form of camera-surveillance Caswell, and you continue to insult our intelligence with your haft-baked justification as to why camera-surveillance would be counterproductive.

    I can recall with vivid precision when I first existed the Army that I briefly worked in security for a major hospital in this country, and I was assigned to operated the camera-surveillance equipment
    which kept taps on the employees, patients and security personnel as well.

    And the empirical evidence gathered or collected from those cameras were enough to exculpate those who had been accused wrongfully, and attribute culpability to those who were claiming their innocences. So David, throw some ice-water on Caswell and awaken him from his long and deep stupor.


  2. balance August 26, 2015 at 10:27 PM #

    “Fractured BLP August 26, 2015 at 7:48 AM #

    To all those naysayers and doomsdayers…….Dr. Estwick and Mr. Sinckler are the tightest ….check the Nation news paper of August 26 2015.”
    Isn’t it in their interest to pretend be to fool the gullible


  3. Dompey August 26, 2015 at 10:37 PM #

    Caswell Franklyn

    I don’t mean to belabour this point, but I am wondering where have you gotten the twisted notion from that somewhere or somehow camera-surveillance will compromise the integrity of the police investigations? I have been in modern police stations here in the states, and I can assure you that cameras are mounted around and inside of the police stations here. And as a matter of fact, the Investigation Department of most if not all of the police stations in this country have in their many rooms where investigators conduct their inquires of possible suspects and witnesses and victims, an array of sophisticated surveillance equipment. And the purpose this camera- surveillance is to protect the accused, witnesses, victims and police alike Caswell.


  4. Dompey August 26, 2015 at 10:59 PM #


    Yesterday you spoke of my mundane contribution to the BU blog, but all you guys do day and night is to pull down the ruling government as though the government has never done anything right.


  5. Simple Simon August 27, 2015 at 1:34 AM #

    Just as tight as Kamla and Jack.


  6. Artaxerxes August 27, 2015 at 4:52 AM #

    It is only those individuals who, because of their unwavering loyalty to a particular ruling party, would accuse critics of trying to “pull down the ruling government as though the government has never done anything right,” because they (party loyalist) are of the misguided belief that the “ruling government” is PERFECT and CANNOT do anything WRONG.

    What amazes me about “die hard” party supporters is the fact that rather than “chastise” their favorite politicians for making ill-advised decisions, they would go all out trying to defend or justify those decisions, even though there may be overwhelming evidence proving incorrect choices were made.

    About two years ago on “Brass Tacks” David Ellis played a recording of a DLP St. Michael North West constituency branch meeting, in which Christopher Sinckler could be heard using pejorative terms to describe certain moderators, to the desk thumping, hand clapping amusement of those in attendance, who loudly cheered for him to continue.

    Ironically, one of the moderators Sinckler attacked was Corey Layne, who is originally from that constituency and has a number of relatives residing there as well.

    Some of these same supporters, who laughed at Corey, would accompany Sinckler on the campaign trail and SHAMELESSLY approach Corey’s relatives in an effort to solicit their votes.

    Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the campaign period is referred to as the “silly season.”


  7. balance August 27, 2015 at 4:59 AM #

    Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the campaign period is referred to as the “silly season.”

    What therefore drives people to sacrifice precious time to vote for silliness?


  8. David August 27, 2015 at 6:53 AM #


    Why the hell you don’t state your views to which your are entitled under BU policy and forget about BU’s view. Whenever Douglas the DLP spokespersons or any other submit views to represent government they are posted. You may not understand but some of us attack issues.

    When BU said to give this government a honeymoon period of one year to implement its policies and show what they had to offer we were criticized by BLP yardfowls. When the BU grace time passed and it is became obvious this DLP government is absolutely no different than the BLP before it, the DLP yardfolws started to crow. Well get use to it, this is how it will be, we will call it as we see it and at the moment to borrow a Barrow tern, they all want putting on a few moses and floated out to sea. Such a disappointment after the sunk cost in education.

    You and your partner can continue to fly the DLP flag but understand we will continue t attack the issues.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. David August 27, 2015 at 7:16 AM #

    To ram(m) home the point. This government promised transparency legislation and it has not delivered. It promised to be an open government to mitigate accusations of corruption and it has not done so. We mentioned all those years ago we will not yield on this point, therefore, it is a government with no integrity and had built a leaking and punctured legacy in our eyes. It makes it very difficult to focus on the good Stuart has done. Deal with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Artaxerxes August 27, 2015 at 8:00 AM #

    In all fairness to Caswell, the issue surrounding protests against the installation of surveillance cameras at the ports of entry were not initiated by him and preceded his Unity Union.

    My research suggests that this has always been a contentious issue, dating as far back as 2003. At that time Customs Officers protested against the proposed installation of cameras in the transit sheds at the port.

    In August 2010 Customs Officers also protested against the installation of close circuit surveillance cameras (with audio capacity) in sensitive areas of the Arrival Hall of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) and the fact that these cameras would be operated by GAIA personnel.

    Customs is a law enforcement agency. Due to the nature and sensitivity of their duties, officers acknowledged that to have an external agency monitor them on a 24 hour basis and having access to intimate knowledge of customs’ operations, was in appropriate.

    Unfortunately, this information could be used by unscrupulous personnel from the external agency to compromise the safety of officers.

    It seems as though the Customs officers definitely have some genuine concerns.


  11. David August 27, 2015 at 8:10 AM #

    The AG admitted on Sunday the Customs Officers have valid concerns.


  12. pieceuhderockyeahright August 27, 2015 at 8:48 AM #

    At David [BU]

    I am not sure if this was mentioned elsewhere here on BU but de ole man jes see it

    GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK Dr Delisle Worrell escaped injury yesterday after his vehicle caught fire. – See more at:

    Given dat de PM got 6 policemens as he escort (you notice how big he face getting?) and Stinkliar say dat some mens say dat dem gine kill he, is it possible dat dis 1986 Mini Cooper Car fire is not

    1 a 30 year old car that an inept car hobbyist put a 500W amplifier in de dash board and did not ground of de wires dat he did direct wire to de distributor next to a leaky carburettor?

    an attempt pun he life by de same menses dat Fumble protecting heself from and dat trying to kilt Stinkliar or

    3 De Hand of the Almighty

    I may not be three causing Senator David Durant did say dat nuffing gine happen to de las PM unner he watch oh sorry dat pronouncement only fuh PMs not Central Bak Guvnors.

    De lil Yorkshire Pony bes had watch heself causing dem tings jes doan happen so….


  13. Artaxerxes August 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM #

    @ David

    If you are referring to CBC’s Sunday night’s “The People’s Business” program with the AG and Acting CoP, I did not watch it. The questions posed to the guess (especially DLP politicians) on that show seem to be “tailor made” to suit a specific purpose or promote a particular political agenda. Also, the moderators do not ask, and callers are not allowed ask probing questions.

    I think the programs should foster the good practice of disseminating valuable information on important issues, rather than serve as the public relations arm of the ruling party and a source of spreading party propaganda.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. David August 27, 2015 at 10:24 AM #


    As you know both parties have abused the CBC. It explains why Julius Gittens was jettisoned.


  15. Artaxerxes August 27, 2015 at 11:25 AM #

    @ David

    “I think the programs should foster the good practice of disseminating valuable information on important issues, rather than serve as the public relations arm of the ruling party and a source of spreading party propaganda.”

    The above comments were NOT specific to one political party, but to BOTH the BLP and DLP.


  16. de Ingrunt Word August 27, 2015 at 12:30 PM #

    Artax and David, whether the issue was initiated by Caswell should not be the point of contention at this time. If he is now a leader with the Customs officers then the focus must be establishing a viable modality to complete effective video surveillance and getting it done. Enough with the grandstanding by all parties.

    David, when you assert that ‘There is obviously no trust in the Customs people to police themselves’ and that “…there is a crisis of trust” I am moved to ask, if Bajans are confident that the Police Dept. can police and govern themselves (as they do now, effectively or otherwise) then how come Customs are considered such a rouge and an unmanageable group?

    There are different ways to manage a country’s border security but I would be shocked if there are any countries (other than principalities and privately ran places) where a private security company is entrusted with that oversight.

    A country’s border security plus immigration, plus Customs taxation/review must of necessity be in the hands of government officials accountable to the citizens. Whether it’s a dedicated security group within the Customs Dept or whether it’s a combined team of Police and Customs officers is a management decision but there should be no serious recommendation for border security protocols to be outside that type of jurisdiction.

    The AG, CoP and the Customs’ union are all placing the country at risk and should be held accountable for what is dangerous and stupid inaction over a non-issue.

    How can it be productive for a CoP to make those statements re his local Customs officials. Such remarks should be made the moment after he has served search warrants at the home of these rouge officers and is displaying evidence of the corruption; to make the unproductive witch-hunt type palaver at his level is ridiculous.

    Clearly there is much petty infighting at senior levels.

    Security surveillance is needed; it cannot be handled by a non-government group; privacy rules will be followed as they are in all cases of a citizen interfacing with government; risks are too high for this insane grandstanding; follow Customs best practices and get the matter done.

    WTF is so difficult?


  17. David August 27, 2015 at 3:18 PM #

    @Dee Word

    All are not equal. This is the problem we face in Barbados. You can’t have so many acting senior people in the Customs Department and expect what?


  18. Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right August 27, 2015 at 5:22 PM #

    @ De Ingrunt Word

    I noted your statement “A country’s border security plus immigration, plus Customs taxation/review must of necessity be in the hands of government officials accountable to the citizens…Security surveillance is needed; it cannot be handled by a non-government group; privacy rules will be followed as they are in all cases of a citizen interfacing with government; risks are too high for this insane grandstanding; follow Customs best practices and get the matter done…”

    Some years ago prior to this administration taking the pitch as the worst batting team this nation has ever known, a similar act of idiocy was effected, very quietly, under the shadow of night.

    The similarity lies in the “danger” of the act and I believe that you and any sensible man reading your rationale behind outsourcing national security to a civilian population would appreciate this.

    The email services of the government of Barbados were outsources to one Steve Williams of the Cyber Crime fame.

    No barring the absolute stupidity of placing the email communication of a sovereign nation in the hands of a civilian because his father was a Senator appointed under the BLP administration what we are looking at is potentially as dangerous as the BlackWater incident in Iraq when the sovereign data of a government resides in the hands of a civilian enterprise.

    The decision behind such a lax decision was predicated on by the value of the contract to maintain the mail servers but equally so imagine me as PM with my confidential email from Standard and Poors speaking to an impending downgrade sent to the ending up in the hands of the son of a BLP supporter??

    It does not make sense AND as we examine the hairbrained ideas of this DLP administration what one realizes is that they were only prepared to run an effective general election or tief one, but were absolutely clueless about how to run the government thereafter

    It is time for the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Law facility to run a compulsory course in Governance and Governing funded by the OAS or someone, established at the Law Faculty Cave Hill where any aspiring representative MUST PASS THE COURSE before they can be elected to serve as a representative

    Oh there is one caveat, papers for the course are to be marked by the Cambridge Examining Body or some external entity BECAUSING

    THe same way you have mock parliament for the Youth Arm of Parliament you must have similar structured University Based Assessments (UBA) which a person must enroll in and pass.

    The results of these courses are to be published online so we would see how INGRUNT some of these people like George Hutson, Patrick Todd, We Jonesing Trevor Prescod etc are.

    Try not to put any maths in the test because our Minister of Fine ants 00,7 Chris Bond of Her Majesty’s Secrets and Services WOULD CATEGORICALLY FAIL


  19. ac August 27, 2015 at 5:27 PM #

    What about the Nation security .isn’t that enough of a valid concern all by itself and sufficient enough to over ride what customs and union perceives as privacy issues.
    The notion that a group employed by Govt can make decisions for the employer using suspicious and unwarranted and unproven perceptions in light of the fact that there is intelligence stating there are weakness in the working environment that undermines the national security of an entire nation and such must be address with certainty is madenning


  20. ac August 27, 2015 at 5:44 PM #

    When Barbados has reached the stage of having two footed horsemen stating that there self intrest is more important than National interest the country is really in deep doo providing that govt does not tolerate and cracked under the influence of the hostile pressures which would come to bear


  21. Caswell Franklyn August 27, 2015 at 6:11 PM #


    You are assuming that they have passed the courses for the degrees that they already have. My understanding is that some of them were put through based on political affiliation only.

    Sent from my iPad



  22. Dompey August 27, 2015 at 6:56 PM #


    Given the rather disturbing review of customs on this side of the river, who wouldn’t want to install some form of surveillance to resurrect the tarnished reputation of this department?


  23. ac August 27, 2015 at 7:59 PM #

    good question dompey ,the answer unsavory custom officers and Caswell


  24. David August 27, 2015 at 8:16 PM #


    Are you serious? The government does not manage its email server?


  25. pieceuhderockyeahright August 28, 2015 at 4:10 AM #

    Up to a particular time Blogmaster neither the BLP nor the current set of clown managed the email servers

    The were managed by SunIsle and Steve

    This is why me grandson dat work at de bank tell me dat he did laughing when Steve and de Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police did host dat Cyber Crime conference

    It was truly like one uh Owen politics of inclusion moments when both de police and de information highway crooks was sharing de same stage

    I wonder if de police does do due diligence pun who fine be sharing de head table wid dem doah…

    It like if de head uh de United Nations Office uh Drug en Crime speaking at de same table dat Pablo Escobar en Guzman dem drug lords marketing drugs at


  26. balance August 28, 2015 at 5:11 AM #

    “It makes it very difficult to focus on the good Stuart has done. ”
    Not nitpickin but so I can give credit where credit is due point me to any good that Mr Stuart has done.


  27. Donna August 28, 2015 at 5:42 AM #


    I’m here scratching my head and trying really hard to come up with something. Maybe somebody will help us out.


  28. de Ingrunt Word August 28, 2015 at 9:21 AM #

    Pieces, interesting comments re the email server. Nowadays, this matter of email security has taken on a whole new dimension.

    Because if a US cabinet member is allowed to maintain her own email server through which she apparently also keeps some government related matters it would appear that security best practices have strayed into the ‘twilight zone’ of cyber stupidity so this option used by B’dos officials may in fact be a superior, great idea.

    Consider that if the server is maintained and secured by Gov’t officials that the other side could have their peoples snooping so maybe server security companies will now be changed as the government changes to maintain confidentiality. Crazier things are done!!

    And re the BlackWater matter. Oh lawd, I think you know that the US did NOT want to know what they were doing. They contracted them, said do this job for us and report back to confirm completion. The private contractor variation of the US Military policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.

    What is going to come back and bite the US and world really hard is this move to contract war to private companies.

    There are now several highly trained, well paid soldiers who have a taste not only for combat but for the big bucks sanctioned killing. It’s one thing to be a grunt in a fox hole with flack coming left and right earning a pittance but this is a different ball game and clearly that type mercenary soldier would readily go back into combat or a combat zone to earn that type of money. Or be encouraged to incite one.

    Security, guns and emails what a combination.


  29. Smooth Chocolate August 29, 2015 at 8:00 PM #

    i am sure that where you see a Custom Officer, you see a Police nearby so i do not understand why the Commission of Police was accusing the Customs Officers of doing shoddy work..his officers must be doing the same too


  30. ac August 30, 2015 at 6:00 PM #


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