Another Heather Cole Column – Something Happening

Stedson Wiltshire (Red Plastic Bag) gave a vivid description of what is seen on Kadooment Day in a calypso song entitled Something Happening. The joyful song presents a stark contrast to the sobering reality unfolding in Barbados. With a backdrop of Covid-19, the cause of labour unrest is deeply disturbing as it is related to changes in the Severance Pay Act and the refusal of some hotels to pay their potion of the workers’ severance pay. As the reality of this crisis sets in, anguish, lack of information, confusion and frustration confront a large section of the population and now a once docile people seem to be erupting. Protests have become a fixture on the landscape with 40% unemployed predominately in the tourism sector; no one knows how this will end but something is definitely happening.

There is no comparison in recent history to what is now unfolding. Complexity and growth of the economy makes it distinct from the 1930’s but it is noteworthy that there was no labour union to prevent the downward spiral that culminated in the 1937 riots in Barbados. Trade unionism came into existence after the riots to protect the rights of labour in 1941. What is mindboggling is that it was out of the struggle of the black working class that both the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) were conceived and born. Now the relationship is akin to 2 children abandoning their mother. This should never have become a matter of political expediency as the BWU depends on the black working class for financial support and the Barbados Labour party depends on the black working class (the largest voting group) for votes. The action of both has shown that they have joined forces and abandoned this class.

In contrast with the song, one can see questionable union actions. One can query the BWU’s agreement to the BEST Program as it offers less than favourable relief to the workers than to the hotels. The program provides financial assistance to hotels and a wage subsidy to workers but no severance. It was stated that only $30 Million of the $300 Million dollars has been taken by the hotels. Part of the remaining $ 270 Million dollars can be used as severance for the workers. Essentially the BEST program is fundamentally flawed as it does not contain a severance payment option.

One can also query why the recently held press conference only resulted in a solution for the workers of Club Barbados and did not take into consideration the thousands of other unemployed workers. What was required is an across the board solution for the hotel industry and any other affected industries. There were so many twists and turns regarding the story of the workers of Club Barbados that it is difficult to decipher but yet it does not justify treatment as a special case as it leaves out others whose plight is the same.

Both the Prime Minister and Ms. Moore chastised the Media but one cannot imagine how the secret of 40% unemployed in Barbados could be kept, not discussed or their protests not covered if they take to the streets. A fair Press is not the enemy of the people. Highlighting these stories humanized the suffering of the workers. They became real people with real problems and in need of real solutions. We all felt their pain. Change is never a factor that comes into play with silence or secrecy; with them ignorance pervades. What the media can do in addition to highlighting the protest is to utilize the top corner of the new paper to daily post unemployment numbers, NIS payouts as a show of solidarity with the workers and carry stories of how this crisis has affected individual persons and neighbourhoods.

One can see government as having created an environment for the lack of trust. The role of government in any democratic society is to provide an enabling environment for all to flourish. This is exhibited in the provision of social services and laws. When the Severance Payment Act was amended in August 2020, the reason for its changes and the why now could not be justified as it was the midst of the current pandemic. The changes now extend the layoff period from 13 to 22 weeks before they can file for severance and that employees must give 4 weeks notice to the employer prior to the end of the 22 weeks period. It also states that the employer can contest severance. It is a punitive amendment to the law and has led to much confusion and ultimately the amended act is disadvantageous as the underlying principle is to disqualify workers from obtaining severance payments. The level of confidence in the government with regards to the treatment to workers is now at an all-time low.

One can also see that this is not only an economic issue. It is also a matter of social justice. Less than favourable treatment has been meted out to one specific class of the population; the black working class. The same people who for almost 400 years have been feeling the brunt of what occurs in the Barbadian society. This class has the highest rate of unemployment, highest incidence of crime, the highest rate of minimum wages, have a high cost of living, poor housing, reduced access to potable water, are in need of proper roads and combined they pay the highest taxes. The only positive thing that they as a group possess is votes at election time. It is these same people who are in need and are being denied the money that should be theirs. One of the women, a former Club Barbados worker lamented that she feels like George Floyd with the weight of someone’s foot on her neck and that she could not breathe. Do their lives and livelihood matter?

One hopes that now we are in the post Nelson era, that governance comes with an aspect of social justice; that no decisions are made on the behalf of the people without consideration of how the disadvantaged black working class will be affected and that there will be a living wage, programs put in place not for pit toilets but for creating wealth to remove vicious the cycle of poverty. If the opportunity to create wealth can be provided to the already privileged it should also be provided to the black working class. The government saw it fit to compulsorily acquire property on Bay Street to give to a developer. It must also do the same for the black working class through co-operatives for agriculture, business development and housing. It is hoped that laws which still seem to be derived from the slave codes will be removed from the laws of Barbados. This is in reference to laws being written from the punitive point of view of ‘let us deny them that colonial mentality’; as though some things are still just too good for the black working class of Barbados.

The irony of these developments is that both the BWU and BLP have bitten the hand that feeds them.

345 thoughts on “Another Heather Cole Column – Something Happening

  1. @ David
    I am waiting to hear from the Comrades, who embraced Mottley, denounce this vicious assault on the working class.

  2. WS

    Are you referring to your “comrades” from the NDP that are now BLPites?

    I support the workers in their strike/protest until they get every cent that they are entilted for..

  3. @HA
    I do not know enough about the Barbadian Companies Act to comment.
    1) If you try to tie up after 10, the companies will not come. There are too many options, both formal and informal, to get a deal which ‘works for them’.
    2) Sagicor is not a rookie to residential? Didn’t they do Fort George (I may have the name wrong, but they’ve done similar before). The regulator issue is separate, for I am not knowledgeable in the regulations governing them.
    3) Your concept of CS supporting a supplier is “nice”, but what controls do you place on the supplier? Years ago, I supported a small company which supplied me with a ‘coated silica’ used for its reflective properties in a road marking coating. They’d been in business for 20 years. They took that advance money, which was supposed to help them increase inventory and hence timely supply, and used it to try and ‘expand their business’. Ended up bankrupt, I was minus a supplier, and $40,000. My fault. I didn’t control, beyond some legal mumbo jumbo, exactly what they were doing. Never again.

  4. @ NorthernObserver

    No, I don’t believe anyone could demand Home Depot to sell paints from a local manufacturer. But, Home Depot hasn’t benefited from 40 years tax free concessions.

    I believe you’re also missing the point. It doesn’t matter if Appleton is widely distributed or anything with “widespread brand appeal.” Tourists come here to enjoy the Barbadian experience. Whether they drink in the local village shops or purchase from convenience stores or supermarkets, tourists usually purchase Barbadian rums.

    Sandals’ “rum drinking guests” are offered Appleton as first choice, because it is advertised as the ‘house rum.’ Hotels’ ‘HOUSE’ beverages are usually LOCAL PRODUCTS. I’ve read several comments on Trip Adviser from Sandals’ guests who complained about asking for local rum only to be served a Jamaican brand.

    Picture this. We have a Jamaican all-inclusive resort, with top level management that’s predominantly Jamaican nationals, who also benefit from tax free concessions; restaurants serving foreign food and beverages, which are imported duty free…….. and the first choice beverages are Jamaican products. How is this supporting or boosting the local economy?

    I may be wrong, but, in MY opinion, Barbados’ ‘return on that investment’, should be much more than having to settle for ‘free’ advertising, a few jobs and saying Sandals is a ‘good corporate citizen.’

  5. @ Northern

    I am not an expert on the Barbados Companies Act either. The Act we have now, like most company Acts in liberal democracies, is based on 1920 conditions, which are outdated.
    What I am saying is that we need a need Companies Act that takes in to consideration all the scams such as some loopholes that allow some directors and shareholders to escape their responsibilities, the most important of which is the myth of a company as an entity in its own right. A company is inanimate.
    Phoenix companies are a good example of this: a new company, using the same premises, and equipment, sometimes employing the same people with the same directors, with only a name change and the evasion of taxes and other debt responsibilities.
    I do not agree with your suggestion that if we try to tie up overseas companies with conditionalities in order to get tax breaks they would go elsewhere.
    First, some no doubt would, so good riddance; others will stay. This depends on what they are getting apart from tax breaks, including what they are offering and what Barbados expects. If you mean you have no confidence in Barbadian policy negotiators, I can agree. If that is not what you mean, then what do you mean?
    As to Sagicor.. It is my belief that its core business is insurance. If that is so, then illiquid residential properties and mortgages are not its core business and, in fact, presents, in my view, a high regulatory risk to its potential beneficiaries. Have a look at Northern Rock. It is my view the regulator should have intervened in this project and stopped them.
    As to Cave Shepherd, or any other company, taking an interest in a business by making advanced payments, they will have to negotiate that deal.
    But similar deals work in the UK and are seen as an alternative way of raising capital for small businesses.
    Sorry about your loss, but invest with care.

  6. @Artax
    “Tourists come here to enjoy the Barbadian experience.” (your opinion and one you confirm from those who complain online)
    Then don’t stay at Sandals?
    It is made very clear in all their advertising (that I have seen), that you as a guest, are supporting the “Sandals experience”. Whether that is in Barbados, Jamaica, Antigua etc That you can enjoy whatever facilities are provided, incl food and beverage, 24×7. (all inclusive) The McDonaldsization of accommodations. You are free to object to the benefit, or lack thereof, of the concept, but that’s what they do. And their results confirm, customers buy into it.
    You maybe ‘right’ on how you view the ROI. But I can guarantee you, there was a line of ‘other locations’ willing to cough up incentives to get a Sandals. And, hasn’t Sandals spent much on construction. I am sure all suppliers are not tax free imports. Aren’t Jamaicans CARICOM nationals? (ie) no work permit required. Didn’t Sir Kyff have Bajans working for him all over the place? When Cow built Hess in St.Lucia, weren’t the bulk of his supervisors and a bunch of the equipment operators all Bajans? Weren’t a bunch of the GEL Flight Kitchen staff once trained and exported from Barbados? Gradually that changes. Actually, it happens everywhere. When Home Despot first came to Canada, most of their senior staff were Americans. Gradually, they promoted Canadians from within the employee base. Ditto for wal-mart.
    I understand the concessions given to Sandals were “extra-ordinary”, and the complaints which followed, especially by competitors who didn’t get similar benefits. But that’s life. The GoB were faced with an opportunity, and they took it.

  7. @HA
    the ‘scams and loopholes’ will emerge from any Act. The day any government makes a change, an army of brains go into action to discover ways to ‘get around’ whatever ‘saves money’. Your “phoenix” is a fair example, the “in term” is ‘special purpose’ [lol] This is similar to how Sagicor got onto the Canadian trading exchange. {Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation}

    re tax holidays, what I mean is….With the drop in Barbadian corporate tax rates, the concept of ‘tax holiday’ is practically valueless?

    You know a lot more about financial/insurance regulation that I do. My concern, is how do such firms attain any kind of return on their portfolios without going beyond their historically limited boundaries? What do they do with a pile of $BBD. They already own significant slices of many companies. Government paper is very risky (even before default #1). Deposit rates are 0%. Do they just keep buying up their competition? Then they’ll have the ‘too much concentration’ arm attacking them. They’ve already been down the Bank route. I see no simple/obvious answer.

  8. @ Northern

    A special purpose vehicle is not the same as a phoenix company where I come from. And, as the top brains try to exploit loopholes, you close them down. You do not give up.
    As to tax breaks, it depends on the purpose of the tax holiday. They are not ‘useless’, they are, or should be, part of an overall plan. I do not know any more about financial or insurance regulation than anyone, but an insurance company speculating in residential property and mortgages are taking a chance, it is high risk, especially after the Clico mess. We still have some of the Clico plantations, ten years after the mess. It is bad, weak, or non-existent regulation.

  9. @ NorthernObserver

    You ‘said’ “hasn’t Sandals spent much on construction” and you’re “sure all suppliers are not tax free imports.”

    Beaches and Sandals have been exempted from paying ALL import duties, taxes including VAT, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever, on the importation or local purchase on all capital goods such as building materials, articles of hotel equipment, furniture. furnishings, fixtures, fittings, construction machinery and for the cyclical re-furbishing undertaken from time to time in order to maintain the Hotel to the standards of the Sandals brand.

    Additionally, the resort has also been exempted from paying all import duties taxes, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever on all vehicles required for the operation of the Hotel including vehicle assigned to senior managers; personal and household effects and vehicles for staff who are contracted to work in Barbados and are not citizens or permanent residents of Barbados.

    Do you know if the Bajans Sir Kyffin have working for him all over the place; C.O Williams’ Bajan supervisors and equipment operators that worked on the Hess project in St. Lucia and GEL Flight Kitchen staff that were trained and exported from Barbados, benefited from a similar luxury of 25 years tax free concessions that were offered to Sandals’ Jamaican employees, as indicated above?

    If you take into consideration how diamond, star and luxury class hotels in Barbados, such as Sandy Lane Hotel, Fairmont Royal Pavillion, Elegant Hotels and other international brands, have a history of employing non-nationals for managerial positions, do you actually believe Sandals Resorts will promote Barbadians “from within the employee base?”

    As it relates to complaints from competitors that “didn’t get similar benefits” as Sandals Resorts, what I can ‘say’ is, let them complain. Many of those hotels have been operating in Barbados for several years. Yet, the owners have not been creative enough to develop and export a brand similar to Sandals.

    Although I understand the points you have made, I don’t necessarily agree with all of them. But, that’s the nature of having a friendly ‘discussion.’ We can agree or disagree, while respecting each other’s opinions and ultimately each other in the process.

  10. @Artax
    I know where you are going.
    All I can say, is a scan of linkedin suggests Sandals has many people of colour, within their senior ranks. So they are currently pro Jamaican, which is no surprise, all the Cdn Banks have had Canadian managers for umpteen years. Sandals also has a very good training school (that from my JA friends). But I ‘think” balans have a better chance of upward mobility with them, than with a bunch of the other actors you mentioned. So I guess only time will tell who gets promoted and who does not?
    I was aware of the business concessions, not those pertaining to employees.

  11. @HA
    you are correct. Notice the [lol] I used….even the Phoenix can take on different forms, the end result being similar…to get around the laws/rules. Every day in the business press I read of some previously unknown ‘special purpose’ entity, and the goal is similar, to get around or bypass. Just yesterday, I received in the mail paperwork regarding a buyout of a publicly traded firm I had a few shares in, and the acquisitor is using a ‘special purpose acquisition company’. That is how Sagicor got a TSX listing. I see them in litigation daily. And a lot of them are ‘splitting’ and ‘stripping’ not unlike the Phoenix.
    You are also correct on the risk framework. Yet, as I posed to you, what can they do to seek a return? Abandon all their local investments and seek more fertile ground.

  12. Government awaits legal opinion from AG
    Kareem Smith
    Article by
    Kareem Smith
    Published on
    December 8, 2020

    The Prime Minister on Monday did not break the deadlock between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and G4S Secure Solutions (Barbados) Limited on their ongoing pay dispute but has thwarted a strike – for now.

    The union has been asked to hold strain on a planned strike for at least the next 36 hours as Government contemplates its next course of action against the alleged discriminatory practices of the London-based security firm.

    After more than six hours of intense talks, it was clear that G4S’ refusal to deviate from the practice of hiring security stewards at a rate of $7.42 per hour, to perform the same duties as security officers at $8.79 per hour had raised the ire of Prime Minister Mottley.

  13. @ Northern Observer

    In this investment climate, a good retail investor would prioritise minimising risk, against going for income or growth. In fact, it is an ideal opportunity for the government to capitalise.
    We have retail banks paying savers interest rates below the base rate, and charging for every service, from having minimum amounts in their accounts to getting new cheque books and some even charge for using the ATMs.
    We also need new investment vehicles aimed at retail investors. Here is an idea for a new savings product: save from taxed income, tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals. A win-win for ordinary people.
    Then that money can be put in ring-fenced vehicles that could only be used for certain purposes, such as infrastructural development, taxing only capital growth.
    In that way, government gets endogenous money to spend on development, savers get income and growth and the nation gets better infrastructure.

  14. @HA
    But….Sagicor is not a retail investor? If I read the comments from Fortress accurately, it is their foreign investments keeping their boat afloat.
    The GoB has been getting ‘endogenous money’ from the NIS and CBB (and others) for years. The investments? I don’t trust them with money.
    I have nothing to offer myself. For instead of thinking positively, every idea gets tested as “how can they eff it up”, and how might that be prevented.

    • @Northern Observer

      We have highly trained persons educated at the best universities. A case of the tentacles of the politicians reaching far and wide.

  15. @Noarethern

    We are losing each other. One conversation was about retail investors, you and your friends; the other was about Sagicor, whose core business is insurance, being allowed to invest in residential property and mortgages.
    Where did Fortress come from? |I know nothing about Fortress and could not care less about a fund that has/had a CEO and chairman as father and son.
    My idea about endogenous money was a proposal for retail investors, one of the benefits of which was endogenous money for local investments, state and business. This has nothing to do with the NIS and CBB. They are different arguments.
    I am talking only about retail investors and their returns.

  16. @HA
    yes we did lose each other.
    But I thought you were favourable towards family businesses? (dont bother to reply)
    In any case….I still have a conceptual issue with government being involved in anything with an expectation of gain. Unless they have a monopoly and the good has an established demand. (Petrol/oil) I don’t have a ‘good feel’ about PPP’s in Barbados.

  17. @Blogmaster
    Forget the training. Learning is a life long exercise. It is the interference. Yet just read BU, and you will see what ‘the people expect from government’.

  18. @ Northern

    How have we moved from retail investors, insurance core businesses to family-owned businesses? That is why I say that in discussions we should always set out what we are talking about. I was talking about how retail investors can invest their savings in a tough economic climate.
    About government, and in particular the Barbados governments (BLP and DLP) we must separate good ideas from government incompetence.
    Yes to good ideas, no to government interference.

    • @Northern Observer

      You are so right.

      PS. You need to stop writing in code. For some it will drive them crazy LOL.

  19. Mia told G4S
    “Not bout hey “which one can imagine received a lol from management
    However Mia did pull of a slick trick of shutting down Union protest which if Moore had any balls would have said No to govt request
    Moore once again has favoured govt request over workers
    Yes Mia bout hey

  20. So @ac
    the BWU hasn’t got a single raise for the G4S crew since 2014, and now 36hrs, or 72hrs or 2 weeks is going to make a difference?
    So TM says, “no, we are not waiting”. And is told, “OK then, just keep doing whatever you have been doing for 7 years”.
    The question is…..with this opportunity staring a gift horse in the face,,,,,where is Verla? You mean she is going to slumber, until Caswell decides to do something.

  21. Waiting to hear part 3 of the
    I know G4S laughing cause govt has no holds on them to increase salaries

  22. If the Union cant do any thing and govt dont have an answer yuh think Verla can be of help
    This is a private company whose top management is in the UK
    These rogue companies could not care less
    Furthermore govt have contracts with them which begs question if govt is in any position to use these contracts as leverage or bargaining tool to support the workers

  23. It must be pouring over here
    Look who just show up with not one but two umbrellas
    David who call u doah
    The workers struggling Mariposa on the workers side
    Whose side are u on
    Tommorow meeting gonna separate bs from reality
    A reality which says that Mia cant fo s.hit

    • Waiting to see the DLP strategy for the upcoming general election. Possibly another by early next year. Are you ready? A word to the wise should be sufficient.

  24. I suspect something is rotten in Denmark which is holding govt hand back from being harsh with G4S
    My suspicion serves purpose to say that any contractual agreements govt might have with the company payments due might be outstanding which is making it difficult to make clear cut decision for both sides in other words dont rock the boat
    Smoke and mirrors at work
    Big works

  25. “My suspicion serves purpose to say that any contractual agreements govt might have with the company payments due might be outstanding which is making it difficult to make clear cut decision for both sides in other words dont rock the boat.”

    Okay, that sounds reasonable. But, have you also taken into consideration G4S may have been tardy or delinquent in preparing and filing corporation tax and VAT returns or remitting NIS contributions?

    Let me give you an example, which may not be exactly similar to what’s going with G4S. I recall the contractual agreement Transport Board has UCAL, which, at one time, payments outstanding were in the ‘millions of dollars.’ This resulted in UCAL employees not being paid for several weeks, VAT payments due were in arrears and so too was NIS contributions. Employees ‘down tools’ in protest. Then transport minister Michael Lashley promised payment. Sinckler made sure the relevant agencies deducted VAT arrears and NIS contributions from the first payment.

    So, it just goes to show ‘government’ could ‘rock any boat.’

  26. So what is wrong with speculation
    There are many comments over the years here on BU who have given speculative opinions

    In any case i would bet that the underlying problems have financial attachments between govt and G4S
    The recent out burst and govt tardiness to hold G4S feet to the fire tells a lot more

  27. I suspect G2S is the only company in Barbados that is allowed to screen passengers according to TSA standards

    This seems to be a sticky wicket if that’s the case .

    I support the workers as usual

  28. I am not an expert on the Barbados Companies Act either.






  29. Gordon Seales states the Best program is costing hoteliers money which they cannot afford
    He further states that the financial stress of the Best program can be cause for hotels closure
    More and more everyday one gets to see how govt policies ate hindrance to the economy of barbados
    One can expect that the private sector would be having more lay offs

  30. BWU blamed in G4S dispute
    EVEN AFTER almost six hours of intense talks Monday night, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley still could not get the hierarchy of G4S Secure Solutions Barbados to yield to demands of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), which is fighting for wage increases and equal pay for security workers.
    But rival trade unionist Senator Caswell Franklyn has described the labour dispute as “laughable” and just a ruse to rebuild the waning confidence of the BWU’s membership. He also knocked the BWU for failing to act earlier.
    Mottley summoned the leadership of the BWU, Minister of Labour Colin Jordan, Acting Chief Labour Officer Claudette Hope-Greenidge and other ministerial officials to the talks at Ilaro Court, following an emergency meeting of the executive council of the BWU. She intervened in the labour dispute after BWU general secretary Toni Moore called on the union’s membership to take part in national industrial action planned for yesterday.
    However, after a breakdown in negotiations, Mottley told the workers to give her 36 hours to seek legal counsel on a way forward and to refrain from industrial action for the time being.
    Hold off
    “I will wait for the legal opinion before we announce the next step that the Government of Barbados will take with respect to G4S,” she told the media around 12:45 a.m. yesterday. “It is against this background that we have also asked the BWU to stay their hand with respect to further industrial action for the 36 hours.”
    However, Franklyn, who heads Unity Workers Unions, told the MIDWEEK NATION
    yesterday that “the entire situation is laughable and pathetic”.
    “Those people had these issues going on for years” he said.
    “This is all about building back BWU numbers and the Government is collaborating with the union to achieve that end. Toni Moore has failed the workers and they are leaving in droves, so this is a way to get back some. This has nothing to do with G4S workers; G4S workers just happen to be the catalyst they are using to get matters going.”
    Wrong issues
    Franklyn added that some G4S employees had joined his union recently and took membership forms for other colleagues.
    “The problem is that they are dealing with the wrong issues. For example, the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc. (GAIA) started procedures way back to take over the functioning of G4S at the airport. . . .
    “Some of those people have already been offered jobs if they want to continue working at the airport, and they would be getting twice as much as they are getting at G4S. So this is not any strike-breaking nonsense; they are using this to create an issue so that people can sympathise with them.”
    Over the weekend, G4S workers assigned to GAIA staged a sick out, which impacted the operations. Chief executive officer Hadley Bourne initiated a contingency plan utilising airport security personnel.
    It was only after he announced that he was planning to put measures in place to prevent a similar situation that things escalated.
    As to breaching International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, Franklyn said the private sector was replicating actions in the public sector.
    “The Prime Minister complained that this was a breach of the ILO convention but Government breaches it every day in respect of other people and other matters.”
    Disgruntled G4S security guards had staged two protests recently in front of the company’s Brighton, Black Rock, St Michael headquarters, making several demands, including a 12.5 per cent wage increase, which would cover the period 2014 to 2019, and the placing of all the company’s security officers on the same level.
    Some Government agencies have contracts with G4S but the number is unclear.

    • PM awaits legal opinion
      PRIME MINISTER Mia Amor Mottley is expected to announce today Government’s next move in the G4S Secure Solutions Barbados labour dispute.
      After she intervened in the matter between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the security company on Monday night, Mottley asked the BWU to hold off its planned national industrial action for 36 hours so that she could get a legal opinion from Attorney General Dale Marshall. This was to ensure Government, through its central operations and its stateowned enterprises, was not breaching any International Labour Organisation (ILO) laws.
      Mottley said: “I have asked the Attorney General not only to present one on Central Government but also the state-owned enterprises . . . that we would also want legal opinions from them in the next 36 hours, so that we may examine all of our rights as Government or as a state-owned enterprise in these matters.”
      Throughout the almost six-hour negotiations held at Ilaro Court, which eventually broke down, Mottley said: “In spite of the company G4S conceding that they have in fact been paying lower wages to a category of worker called a security steward than they would have paid a security officer, they refuse to correct this situation . . . . “The company also conceded that it has not hired a single person as a security officer since 2014, and . . . has not promoted a single security steward to being a security officer, earn at a higher level. The company further conceded that there have been salary increases for only members of the administration . . . .” (SB)

    • Good comments from Reader’s ection to Nation article.

      CeeJay Bowen: All security and cleaning firms pay very low wages and expect long hours of service. All of that needs looking into.
      Rainz Franklyn: This is worthy of applause, but I have to ask, have we been sleeping? These kinds of things have been going on unchecked for years. A combination of management purposely withholding important information from staff that is beneficial to them, and people not knowing their rights, creates the perfect work environment for this type of nonsense.
      Alicia Archer: No legal opinion necessary. They’ve been flouting the law and business ethics for years. Simply put to them that if they expect their contracts to be renewed, they will sort their business out. The Labour Department needs to take a good hard look at itself as well with the manner in which they have dealt with complaints against G4S.
      Wayne P Hoyte: Labour issues in Bim go beyond G4S. If Bajans were to list the worst employers and employment practices, those who don’t pay in the statutory deductions, those who pay poor salaries/wages, those who provide poor working conditions, some interesting individuals and/or companies will make the list. So it’s G4S today, but who tomorrow?
      Tyrone Corbin: Government getting involved in this and done nothing in the others. Is this because they have a member involved? We have a ton of places ’bout here paying workers bus fares.
      Rich Andrew: Now this is where all the businesses/merchants that have contracts employing G4S need to take a stand in solidarity and end those same contracts, forcing G4S to have no other option but to comply with decent employment practices or pack up and go.

  31. It’s obvious ONLY you “would bet that the underlying problems have financial attachments between govt and G4S,” because it is politically expedient for you to do so.

    The issue with G4S has been going on for years. Recently, during their protest, the guards made several demands, including a 12.5% wage increase, which would cover the period 2014 to 2019.

    Surely you must agree that the underlying problems you’ve alluded to, ceteris paribus, had to be present during 2014 to May 24, 2018.

  32. All this talk about getting new hotels to support local has been dealt with by this government already. But the BU know-it-alls laughed at me.

  33. New senator makes strong case for improved treatment of working class

    Newly-appointed Independent senator Julian Hunte on Wednesday used his maiden speech in the Upper House to call for better treatment of the working class as the Barbados Workers Union trade unionist filled the vacancy left by his boss’ entry into elective politics.

    After being formally welcomed by Senate President Reginald Farley, Government Senator Kay McConney, Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn, and Independent Senator Kevin Boyce, Senator Hunte, the BWU deputy general secretary took the floor.

    The new senator said he was “honoured” to “carry on the work they have done on behalf of the trade union movement”. He takes the Senate seat of General Secretary Toni Moore, now MP for St George North…Declaring that many workers were being forced to take to the streets to protest for what is rightfully theirs, Senator Hunte said: “I am joining the Senate at this time when too many Barbadians are finding it difficult to have reasonable access to labour relations advice at work. There seems to be a system of a roll back of the gains that have been won by labour over the decades.”

    He added: “I am happy to join this Chamber in this capacity at a time when the labour relations landscape of our country is going through some change. November this year, a time when Barbadians would have preferred if the hardest thing they had to do was to contemplate whether they wanted their conkies with or without raisins, too many members of the working class have had to find themselves on the sidewalks demonstrating their inability to access severance pay that they are entitled to that was owed to them.”

  34. What was so strong about Hunte mouthings yesterday
    Didn’t hear Hunte speaking loud and bold in a chastising manner against a govt policy which has taken away the foundations of the severance Act put in place to protect the workers
    Didn’t hear Hunte specifically chastise a govt which would vocally tell workers not to protest
    His mouthings were usually the longwinded response to oppose but not to offended
    Unions role is to be bold and direct against govt policies which purposely and intentionally pursue paths with an intent of hurting the workers
    Hunte opening remarks were a failure to be frank and direct which should have been timely and no bars holds against govt policies given the mishandling of this six year long problem
    In other words his Conkie was missing raisins

  35. Wow what a historical occasion
    Even rethread leroy Trotman got to hand out knighthood to the G4S workers for their valiant efforts in staging protest while Mia looked on with a smile 😃
    Now what did occur from a laysman perspective
    G4S and govt decided to make a run for minimum wage
    G4S decides to pay workers equal pay
    But there got to be a hook private sector not that generous
    Aww watch out for more lay offs

    Big works indeed
    Profit margin cuts deals and have the final word

  36. ” However, Weir said Barbados was known for its hospitality; delivering on promises; being politically stable; and having a good reputation in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America. As a result, he said, more people were enquiring about Barbados’ industry, and more investors were showing interest in coming to the island.”

    more investors were showing interest in coming to the island

    more investors were showing interest in coming to the island


  37. I heard the word “agreements” spoken from the mouth of Mia
    Were these agreements put in writing
    Was there a minister from the opposition party in attendence to ensure full transparency on this issue
    Has Mia become the vocal minister for labour and leader of the Union

  38. Poor Mariposa the hand flaring despot has stepped up like real leaders do not like thenightwatchman or the ex PM.This is how leaders lead from the front.The dispute seems to have been amicably resolved with the workers getting what they were pressing for over 12 years which would have strecthed back to 2008 with the so called great Mr Thompson followed by Mr Stuart.Tell us Mariposa why didn, t your party resolve this years ago and not a word of protest from you or CCC who suddenly care about poor people since 2018.Damn hyprocrites.You all got two more years to bellyache and probably 10 more after that.Tje recent by election showed the majority of people ain,t buying what you selling hemceMr Reifer got his ass kicked and the least said about the mock party the better.As i have stated i believe the economy will rebound to pre covid levels ans it will be good night nurse for all the daily bellyachers on here come 2023 in my opinion.

  39. lorenzo look shut up nothing here has been settled no sign agreements
    oh btw why didnt the blp govt of the time of the alexander saga not find a resolution
    also why did not the same blp govt of the day find a solution for the Al Barrack saga
    Poor fool all govt handed the workers was a promise which supposedly would begin on Jan 1st no sign agreement by the G4S management for a promised of certainty ,nothing govt has provided can compel G4S to keep the promise and you poor soul talking about resolution
    furthermore govt also indicates that coming out of this long drawn out talk another committee at taxpayers expense to decide if low end workers would get a dollar more in wages
    this mulberry PR was another joke place on workers and taxpayers head

  40. Thousands to benefit from wage accord

    Stories By Sheria Brathwaite

    By April next year, Barbados could, for the first time, have a national minimum wage along with fixed amounts for different sectors.
    Currently, the legal minimum wage of $6.25 per hour applies only to shop assistants.
    The groundbreaking development was announced last night by Prime Minister Mia Mottley during a press conference at Ilaro Court after a resolution to the industrial impasse involving the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and G4S Secure Solutions Barbados.
    “I’m happy to report that on reflection we were able to find that common ground and it is that common ground that would benefit not only the workers of G4S but thousands of workers across Barbados . . . ,” she said.
    “For more than a decade, the Barbados Workers’ Union in its conferences year after year would have called for an establishment of a national minimum wage and sectoral minimum wages to protect the most vulnerable in our society. Whether it was shop assistants who were already getting and domestics, to extend it to gas station workers, cleaners, agricultural workers, general workers, security workers, officers, guards, (and) watchmen.” Mottley said that increasing the minimum wage was part of the Barbados Labour Party’s manifesto before it came to power and the current administration was committed to standing by its promises of $8. The Barbados Minimum Wage, Labour Law and Employment Data Sheet, list the minimum wage rate at $6.25 per hour for shop assistants. The minimum wage was last changed in March 1, 2012.
    “My Government through the Minister of Labour established and appointed the national minimum wage board . . . But equally as important, (we) established a working committee within the ministry that produced this document – a draft proposal – for a national minimum wage for Barbados.
    Heavy lifting
    “And therefore the six months that it took to do the heavy lifting on this document is behind us and not ahead of us and as a result, what remains to be done is for this to go to the National Minimum Wage Board for its comments, acceptance, amendments (or) rejection and then for them to report to the minister.”
    Mottley said the board had to comprise people with a certain level of experience, pointing out that it comprised three people appointed by Government, three by the BWU and three by the private sector.
    She also said that a Blue Riband Advisory Committee was established to advise the Cabinet on what would be recommended by the board. The advisory committee would also consult with the Social Partnership. The committee’s first report to Cabinet is to be presented by February 1.
    “The minister then would review their comments and recommend to Cabinet for Cabinet’s agreement what the national minimum wage would be. One of the things we recognise is that there can be no single figure across the board, particularly since certain sectors have different complexities and different skill sets . . . so that you may have a national minimum wage that is across the board . . . .
    “We look forward to a resolution to this matter that will allow not just G4S workers, not just security workers, but thousands of Barbadians workers to face 2021 with the comfort that come April that there would be in place in Barbados a national minimum wage as well as a sectoral minimum wage for different sectors.”
    Once the committee reports to Cabinet in February and the draft legislation is set, members of the public will have 40 days to state any objections for the Minister of Labour and the the board to review before it is set to bed in April.
    The members of the committee are chairman of the Administrative, General and Professional Service Commission, John Williams; retired educator and trade unionist The Most Honourable Patrick Frost; former general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers and Barbados Ambassador to the United Nations, Joseph Goddard; retired business executive and former head of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Sir Allan Fields, and businesswoman Marcia Martindale. Former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons will chair the committee.
    Mottley added that the labour dispute fast-forwarded Government’s move to increase minimum wages, which she said may have been addressed around June or July next year.

    Source: Nation

    • G4S officers to get same pay
      From January 1, 2021, security stewards employed at G4S Secure Solutions Barbados will receive the same pay as security officers.
      Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced last night during a press conference at Ilaro Court that the Barbados Workers’ Union and the security company agreed to raise the $7.42 pay of security stewards to $8.79 along with a minimum of 40 hours per week.
      “I’m happy to report that after intensive back and forth and conciliation between the parties, that the parties have agreed that G4S will pay all of the security workers, whether stewards or officers $8.79.”
      Mottley said she discovered there were anomalies pertaining to minimum wages for security workers and that G4S wrote to the late Prime Minister David Thompson requesting a set minimum wage for security workers out of concerns of disparities.
      BWU consultant and former general secretary Sir Roy Trotman said the workers were also demanding back pay but gave up that request.
      “We have given up the demand for back pay, that is normally not what a trade union is about but we have decided to make that sacrifice because we have said to the Prime Minister and to G4S that we want not just G4S workers to come out ahead of this in circumstances where they can take home a living wage to their families, we want all security workers to have that same benefit.”
      Meanwhile, G4S legal advisor Ramon Alleyne QC was pleased, saying the company was committed to paying workers equally. (SB)

  41. “ We have given up the demand for back pay, that is normally not what a trade union is about but we have decided to make that sacrifice because we have said to the Prime Minister and to G4S that we want not just G4S workers to come out ahead of this in circumstances where they can take home a living wage to their families, we want all security workers to have that same benefit.”(QUOTE)
    ( Sir Roy)
    Who fooling who ? The above should be read very carefully.
    Things get curiouser and curiouser.
    “ on the abundance of water the fool is thirsty”

  42. @ William

    Smoke and mirrors. Why is the president supervising this settlement and not the minister? Why is Roy Trotman speaking on behalf of the union and not the general secretary? And why should low-paid workers negotiate away their back pay? Is the pay settlement really their own money?
    When are t he redundancies going to come?

  43. By April next year, Barbados could, for the first time, have a national minimum wage along with fixed amounts for different sectors.
    Currently, the legal minimum wage of $6.25 per hour applies only to shop assistants.
    The groundbreaking development was announced last night by Prime Minister Mia Mottley during a press conference at Ilaro Court after a resolution to the industrial impasse involving the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and G4S Secure Solutions Barbados.
    “I’m happy to report that on reflection we were able to find that common ground and it is that common ground that would benefit not only the workers of G4S but thousands of workers across Barbados . . . ,” she said.





  44. “ We have given up the demand for back pay, that is normally not what a trade union is about but we have decided to make that sacrifice because we have said to the Prime Minister and to G4S that we want not just G4S workers to come out ahead of this in circumstances where they can take home a living wage to their families, we want all security workers to have that same benefit.”(QUOTE)




  45. Those poor G4S workers going to be in for a surprise
    The Union all but handed their heads on a plate to G4S
    No agreement was signed which would have forced G4S to stick by their promise
    G4S is in the drivers seat and can renege on that promise and can if things get dicy between them and govt choose lay off workers

  46. @ Mariposa

    Watch out for redundancies. Now the company is going private, private equity owners used to be called asset strippers for a reason. Do you think a big US?UK company looking to make quick cash cares about a 14×21 island on the edge of the Caribbean?
    Who is going to put in an offer to buy the local business?

    • The PM will never be able to please you gloomers. She has two years and then the people will decide once more.

  47. @ Enuff December 11, 2020 12:47 PM

    Since you are the ‘red-painted’ polymath on BU (much unlike the ‘know-it-all’ Hal with the Limey Condition) you should be able to explain, rather easily, how a non-negotiable commitment to introduce ‘Minimum Pay’ legislation within a “Mission Critical’ window of “SIX MONTHS” has morphed in a revolving door of 2 MONTHS shy of 3 YEARS?

  48. The PM will never be able to please you gloomers. She has two years and then the people will decide once more.





  49. G4S and striking employees have signaled they are happy with the settlement. Matter closed, next.



  50. Baje can show the video of the calculation that each worker would have gotten thousands of dollars?

    Or where there was an agreement about them getting back pay?

  51. Baje can show the video of the calculation that each worker would have gotten thousands of dollars?

    Or where there was an agreement about them getting back pay?



    More than a year after threatening to take action if outstanding issues were not addressed, security officers at G4S Secure Solutions (Barbados) Ltd followed through on that promise.

    Contending their employer was taking advantage of them, scores of workers went on strike today at the security company’s Brighton, Black Rock headquarters.

    The workers said longstanding grievances such as a raise in pay and improved working conditions had still not been addressed.

    Last October, following an over two-hour, closed-door meeting at Solidarity House, security officers gave their employer an ultimatum to fix the problems or face strike action.

    At the time the major bones of contention were the fact that workers had not received a pay hike in over six years and that they were being paid less than the negotiated wage between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the company.

  52. I see improve working conditions and a pay raise

    The only time I see anything mentioned about back pay is when trotman said they give up that demand

    Do you understand that in negotiations u do not get everything u want?
    U usually start at a point and try to meet in the middle with a “win” for both parties

  53. I see improve working conditions and a pay raise

    The only time I see anything mentioned about back pay is when trotman said they give up that demand

    Do you understand that in negotiations u do not get everything u want?
    U usually start at a point and try to meet in the middle with a “win” for both parties



    DO YOU UNDERSTAND “that they were being paid less than the negotiated wage between the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the company” FOR AT LEAST 6 YEARS.




    However, a source who attended the meeting told Barbados TODAY that workers were frustrated, with a salary increase owed for the last six years and back pay from 2016 outstanding.

    “This problem with salary increases and back pay is a longstanding issue. The union told us that they had sent paperwork to G4S and were now waiting for them to sign it and return it. But some of the workers believe that this has been going on for too long and they are very upset about not being paid. Some of them said they were giving G4S a month and if they haven’t replied by then, they will take action,” the source told Barbados TODAY.

    An officer who has been employed at the security company for almost a decade said the turnout for yesterday’s meeting demonstrated that her colleagues had had enough.

  55. @ Baje

    Don’t be provoked. Even if they poked out the eyes of the guards some people will still say it was a ‘win’.

  56. @ Baje

    Don’t be provoked. Even if they poked out the eyes of the guards some people will still say it was a ‘win’.


    @ Hal



  57. Maybe the worker should leave bwu and have u negotiate for them
    I keep tell u guys. The unions is not Toni or trotti. But the workers
    If the workers don’t wanta give up the thousand of dollars (according to u) then the unions leaders couldn’t take that off the table .

  58. Baje

    Ur can be approx 3k in back pay if the worker worked 40 hrs a week. It would be more if the worked OT. And less if they weren’t in a 40 hrs schedule

    Now they are Garanteed 40hrs and a raise

    So that’s at less 18283/ year with possibility of OT.

    In these hard economics time which you think the workers would vote for

    3000k back and possibility of some going home – to make up for the raise + back pay

    Or at least 18k / yr for all

  59. Baje

    Ur can be approx 3k in back pay if the worker worked 40 hrs a week. It would be more if the worked OT. And less if they weren’t in a 40 hrs schedule

    Now they are Garanteed 40hrs and a raise

    So that’s at less 18283/ year with possibility of OT.

    In these hard economics time which you think the workers would vote for

    3000k back and possibility of some going home – to make up for the raise + back pay

    Or at least 18k / yr for all




  60. Baje you ar a big ass

    in any company workers can go home at any point in time, 2021 or anytime after.

    so you continue showing the ass you are.

  61. We will.know with certainty what the workers agreed on come Jan1st
    The only voices heard were Mia the spokesperson for G4S and trotman
    Not even Moore who should have been the main person in the negotiations said nothing on behalf of the workers
    Jan and April gonna be two important months in the lives of bajan households
    Private sector already crying about low sales and having to coughed up money not going to be pretty

  62. John 2 do not worry with the 3 degree jackass as he clearly does not understand negotiations.I do not know why you have to work for G4S to have basic common sense.What you posted makes sense to me and apparently the workers.Bottom line the hand waving despot has stepped up and show leadership from the front unlike the bellyachers preference in the ex PM and that does not suit their political agenda.They have another 2 years plus another 10 years to bray and bellyache because thst is all they can do.Most of them never run a bread shop far less a country.Who the hell what to hear any advive from them or elected them to be their spokesmen.Go take a flying leap bunch of jokers.

  63. In these hard economics time which you think the workers would vote for

    3000k back and possibility of some going home – to make up for the raise + back pay

    Or at least 18k / yr for all


    Baje you ar a big ass

    in any company workers can go home at any point in time, 2021 or anytime after.

    so you continue showing the ass you are.




  64. Lorenzo

    If i am correct that G4S are responsible for airport departure screenings then, with the treat of a national strike by BWU, the hand waving despot had to step up. or did she only step up cause she love the limelight?

  65. Baje yuh ass

    if you did one of the workers which on would you vote for ?

    the company can close down at any point in time and send home all the workers. when you negotiating you supposed to do so in “good faith”.

    I was not in on the negotiations and do not know what promises/guarantees were given by any of the parties – beside what was published in the press.

    So only a jack would not understand that i was speaking in general.

    FYI – some of the workers can be sent home for cost cutting …..agreed
    .BUT – if if some are sent home for cost cutting for only a raise then MORE would be sent home if the company have to pay both a raise and back pay.
    the same way some can be sent home – MORE can be hired and benefit from the agreement IF/When the economy turn around

    so continue being the jackass you are. the 3 degree you bought were not worth the pennies you spent on then IMO

  66. This so called arrangement will fail when put to the test of reality
    Unfortunately the workers have agreed to God only knows what

  67. @ john2December 11, 2020 6:17 PM
    “the company can close down at any point in time and send home all the workers. when you negotiating you supposed to do so in “good faith”.”

    Was that ‘Collective Bargaining’ principle also applicable when the unions representing the public sector workers were ‘in cahoots’ and demanded unrealistic salary increases of over 20% under the last administration who were fiscally up a creek without a ‘borrowed’ IMF paddle?

    Wasn’t it also a trade-off between fiscally unaffordable salary increases and saving jobs which eventually turned out to be so by the same union players accepting a much lower increase of 4 to 5 % under the current administration despite the massive hike in the CoL?

  68. We have a disproportionate number of legal personnel in Barbados. Are none of them prepared to challenge what appears to be the underpayment of workers since 2014. Does G4S not have a legal right to back pay its workforce? Are Barbados employment laws sufficiently robust or are they not being enforced.

    Has the government recently become cognisant of the travails of Barbados work force? Hal will often state that historically our governments have been incompetent rather then corrupt. The people of Barbados must bring to an end incompetent governments in Barbados. We cannot continue to reward corruption and mediocrity.

    • Do you understand through your think skulls that the workers who sat arpound the table have agreed to the deal?


  69. @ Miller




  70. Miller

    i am tired saying here – everyone wanted to see the back of that DLP goverment.- IMO thats the most important factor in the refusal. there are also other reasons – like why the workers elected and backed akanni to represent them (which further streghten my first point). etc

    The 20% was not a DEMAND – of was the first offer put on the table by the union/s to START negotiations.

    If you want 10% that that DLP “repaid” themselves you aint going put an offer for 12%

    Restoring their 10% is part of what the union took into consideration. ( that the gov wasnt really “up no creek”0

  71. miller


    the 20% increase was for 10 years of no increase.

    if i remember correctly – the 5% was for one year ( which i expect now to be extended for a few more years)

  72. Senator Caswell cannot be correct all the time.

    The Club workers get severance money
    The 150 former employees at The Club Resort & Spa have received their severance pay.
    In a letter dated November 24, general manager Caroline Gallichan-Hurley told the workers that the West Coast property secured funding and they no longer had to go through the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to receive their money.
    The letter read: “As of today, all former Club Barbados employees have received their accrued vacation pay, notice pay, and 25 per cent of their severance pay. We have been working hard to obtain the funds needed to pay the remaining 75 per cent of your severance pay, and we are pleased to advise that we have now secured financing that will enable us to distribute your final payments immediately . . . . We have notified the NIS that we no longer require NIS financing, as we have secured alternative funding.”
    Workers collected their cheques at the Vauxhall, St James property. Those whose surnames begin with letters A to M received their final cheque on November 27 while those with surnames N to Z received theirs on December 1.
    One worker said he was happy to receive his money.
    “I remained calm with my fingers crossed till I received the cheque in my hand,” he said. “After I got it I was very happy ’cause after a rough year I can have a good Christmas.”
    On November 17, about 50 workers protested outside the West Coast property demanding their outstanding money. Management at the hotel had originally promised to pay the outstanding money on November 21, but announced that due to financial issues they could no longer follow through.

    Source: Nation

    • G4S unrest highlights lacunas in labour law
      By Michelle M. Russell

      Last week, I followed with great interest the continuation of the G4S industrial unrest. I remained supportive of the stance taken by the workers to continue to advocate for equal pay among security workers, among other claims.
      The intervention of Prime Minister Mia Mottley saw the delay of further threatened strike action resulting from her request that the union and workers await a requested legal opinion on whether G4S, by its actions, were in breach of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions.
      It was not immediately clear to me how a legal opinion which focused on breach of international labour standards would produce results needed to resolve the claims for these workers.
      Rather, I thought the focus should have been on the defects in our local labour laws which had allowed these issues to arise in the first place. In my opinion, the G4S unrest highlighted three major failings in our own labour laws: the lack of an updated Wages Act and/or equal pay legislation, the absence of a legislated national minimum wage and the absence of trade union legislation to deal with breaches of agreements between employers and trade unions.
      In a statement in Friday’s Weekend Nation, the management of G4S advised that they have not acted in breach of any local labour laws.
      While on the surface this seems like a surprising statement, they are not wrong. There is a big difference between law and morality.
      Legally wrong
      Not every moral wrong constitutes a legal wrong or breach of law. For instance, it is morally wrong to covet thy neighbour’s wife, husband, woman or man, also known as giving a horn. However giving a horn breaches no laws. There is no doubt that it is morally reprehensible to pay different wages to employees who do the same work. However, since there is no legislated minimum wage and no equal pay legislation or provisions, this morally reprehensible act is not legally wrong.
      For many years, Barbados has had an accepted minimum wage for shop workers of $6.25 per hour.
      This has been used by most employers as the minimum wage payable in most industries, though it is not law.
      G4S workers were being paid above the accepted minimum wage at between $7.42 and $8.79 per hour.
      Additionally, though inequitable to pay different wages to workers who do the same job (by hiding behind a very slight difference in job titles) Barbados, unlike many other Caribbean jurisdictions does not have equal pay legislation or provisions that make this practice illegal.
      Equal pay provisions primarily address the need for equal pay for work of equal value regardless of gender.
      However, the same principle would apply to people of the same gender doing the same work. It is arguable whether this issue could be subsumed under section 5(e) of the new Prevention of Discrimination in Employment Act. If Barbados had equal pay provisions then the actions of G4S would have been a breach of law and resulted in civil or criminal liability.
      Finally, based on media reports, the management of G4S had acted in breach of an agreement it previously had with the union. However Barbados has no specific industrial relations legislation as do some jurisdictions such as Trinidad and Tobago.
      Consequently, trade unions struggle to find recourse when an employer fails to recognise them as the representative body or when there is a breakdown in an agreement or negotiations with an employer. However, I am no trade unionist, so I will leave them to lobby for the legislation needed for their industry.
      In short, the G4S unrest highlighted areas in our own labour laws that require redress. I am happy that after further talks, the management has agreed to regularise wages among all security officers commencing January 2021. I am even more satisfied that Mottley has advised that steps are being taken to establish various national minimum wages by April 2021. I only hope that the Prime Minister adds to the list of amendments, the need for legislation to address equal pay among workers doing the same jobs.

      Michelle M. Russell is an Attorney-at-Law with a passion for Employment Law and Labour matters. Email:

      Source: Nation

  73. Oh what a tangle web we weave when we practice to deceive
    Thanks COVID for bringing to the surface the deceptive nature of govt and govt covert intention to deceive workers
    When all is said and done the G4S workers would be put out to pasture while the G4S management ride out into the sunset guided by law
    Muttley can play all she wants with the minds of the people but one day coming soon things gonna get real ugly
    The hand writing is already on the wall

  74. Back in business
    Savannah to pay out severance this week
    THE SAVANNAH HOTEL will be back in business next month.
    And there’s more good news for scores of former staff who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, with operators of the Hastings, Christ Church property, Sun Group Hotels, reporting that severance pay due to those workers will start being disseminated from this week.
    Last month, more than 50 disgruntled workers protested outside Savannah, demanding that management give an indication when their severance would be paid, and through what channels.
    In an exclusive interview with the DAILY NATION yesterday, chairman of the Sun Group, Bernie Weatherhead, revealed that from this week, the company would pay outright, severance payments valued under $10 000.
    Those more than $10 000 would be disbursed in two stages: 50 per cent in the first instance, which would also be paid this week, and the remainder on or before February 26 next year.
    “There is nothing I value more than the people who have helped me build and carry these businesses over the years. While I’m trying to meet my legal obligations, I want to reiterate that I am concurrently fighting to ensure that all of Sun Group Inc.’s businesses can return to their pre-COVID levels of prosperity, for the benefit of this country,” he noted.
    The group comprises Savannah, Worthing Court Apartments, Time Out At The Gap, Sugar Cane Club, Sun Tours, Sun General Insurance and Drive-a-matic Car Rentals.
    Weatherhead said people rehired would retain their full contribution of years in service to the Savannah Hotel.
    He also spoke about the effect of the crisis.
    “It says a lot about the COVID-19 pandemic, that even with over 50 years of experience in the hospitality industry, I’ve never experienced an event with such a drastic impact on how we live and work.

    There is no instruction manual nor blueprint that charts the way toward normalcy. We are truly in this fight together.”
    The chairman said the pandemic had been a tragedy for Sun Group Inc. as a result of the contraction of the tourism sector.
    “There is no sugar-coating it. To put things into perspective and give an example of what has been going on behind the scenes, our rental car company, the largest in the island, offloaded over $2 million in the sale of vehicles this year. That windfall was immediately directed toward assisting many of our companies with severance payments.”
    The Sun Group boss added that in order to ensure the businesses stayed afloat and continued to employ as many Barbadians as possible, they had to exercise prudence in the management of their cash flow.
    “As a company, our success and resilience over the years has been solely down to the hard work of our staff. Recognising this, Sun Group Inc. has always had stellar relations with workers’ unions and with its staff, even to this day,” he said.
    Weatherhead said the Savannah Hotel situation was deeply saddening on a personal level for him and it was important to share some insight into what led to the hotel being the only business in Sun Group Inc.’s portfolio to experience delays in severance payments.
    “In the last two years of its operation, Savannah lost considerable money. To then face the burden of the payout was not something we could do all at once. Due to protracted negotiations with Hotels and Resorts Limited over the purchase of the Savannah Hotel property, the decision regarding the retention of full-time staff was delayed. The complexity of the talks meant that I was unable to disclose when exactly the hotel would resume operations and consequently rehire its staff.” He added that with negotiations now near completion, with immediate effect Savannah would be rehiring members of staff who were keen on continuing their years of employment. “I can confidently add that we will reopen in January, and much-needed renovations will be undertaken at the conclusion of the 2020 winter season,” Weatherhead said. Former workers have been advised to check in with the hotel’s human resource department this week for further advice regarding their severance payments. During her press conference last Thursday night at Ilaro Court, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said the management of Savannah had been meeting with Government, but called on Weatherhead to speak publicly on the matter.
    “He needs to speak to the country and contextualise his position. In fairness, his position at Savannah became entangled with the offer to purchase as a result of a request for proposals. I believe there is a way out,” Mottley said.

    Source: Nation

  75. Govt looking to update severance payment law
    GOVERNMENT WILL be revisiting Barbados’ severance pay legislation to correct deficiencies highlighted during the current impasse between employers and employees as a consequence of the fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic.
    Updating a virtual International Labour Organisation Decent Work Team and Caribbean Labour Organisation meeting yesterday on the status of labour in Barbados, Minister of Labour Colin Jordan said Barbados would be addressing the situation “where businesses that are levelled for severance and are neglecting to, or in some cases refusing to make those severance payments when those severance payments become due.”
    “We have to look at how we make sure that businesses are held accountable so that if the government has to finance the claims up front, that there is a guarantee that the business some time thereafter meets it its obligations,” he said.
    The Labour Minister said claims to severance “sometimes take too long and we have started to expedite the process (and) some more work has to be done on that.”
    He said the National Insurance Scheme had been inundated with unemployment claims from 32 000 people, however, up to the middle of last month about 13 000 of those people had gone back to work, representing about 40 per cent of the laid off who had returned to work up to the middle of November Though he said the area of consultation before layoffs “has to be tightened”, the Labour Minister gave a hopeful projection on the future for Barbados’ labour force saying he anticipated “full recovery” from the current situation and added the social dialogue was ‘strong’.
    He advised more emphasis would be placed on occupational safety and health, with the relevant Act to be strengthened by regulations to go along with the legislation.
    Jordan said in view of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had forced more people to work from home, occupational health and safety would have to be considered for that development.
    President of the Caribbean Employers Confederation Wayne Chen complimented Barbados on the work it had done towards creating a more harmonious labour environment. (GC)

    Source: Nation

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