Strike Action During a Pandemic!

The ongoing dispute between Unity Workers Union (UWU) and government exposes the boast we are an uneducated people. It seems the height of ignorance actors on both sides are unable to resolve a dispute involving healthcare workers during a pandemic. This has occurred in a country with a social partnership established with a mandate to prioritize a space to facilitate consultation, dialogue and collaboration. It must be stated Caswell has written in this space his lack of confidence in the social partnership. 

The blogmaster has no bone in the fight EXCEPT to acknowledge the life of a human being is priceless. If it is the grievances fueling the dispute for whatever reasons cannot be quickly resolved because of weighty imponderables – the raging pandemic has created the opportunity for reasonableness between the parties to be exercised. To maintain intractable positions with omicron starting to spike our rate of infections is an admission of idiocy. Bear in mind Barbados’ heavy dependence on tourism and the negative impact an elevated positivity rate will have on the country’s ability to earn precious foreign exchange. There is the possibility government’s finances may collapse and compromise its ability to service public sector payroll.

According to reports strike action about 100 strong is expected to take place this morning, a clear indication the chasm which exists between the two sides. If UWU backs down it may be interpreted as a defeat especially for the peppy head of UWU Caswell Franklyn who is fighting to increase his share of membership. If the government gives in, it opens the door for the industrial relations climate to become active at the worse time for government managing tanking revenues. 

Of concern to the blogmaster is the role Most Honourable Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic has been reported to have played so far. It was reported the former schoolmates Bostic and Franklyn had agreed to a third party mediator to move the dispute along. According to Caswell Prime Minister Mottley vetoed the meeting after her request for striking workers to return to work was rejected. This slammed the door shut on possibly resolving the matter or at minimum depositing it in the abeyance bucket. The call of a snap general election eighteen months from when it is constitutionally due ensures the door remains closed. This is the second time Bostic has found himself in a pickle in recent months. His surprising admission he knew nothing about an arrangement between a Mark Maloney led initiative and government to procure AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine from a non traditional procurement source continues to tug at sensible minds. It surprised many including the blogmaster that Bostic and the permanent secretary- who signed off on the strange arrangement- were conferred high national honour. Through it all the phlegmatic Bostic has been serving out his final days having given notice of retirement from politics in October 2021.

In the system of government we practice all ‘big works’ related matters continue to lead to the first among equals in Cabinet. Hopefully in the debate to come about reforming the Barbados Constitution, whichever party wins the upcoming election, Barbados will seize the opportunity to create relevant constitutional clauses to ensure decision making by the executive becomes more decentralized from the prime minister led approach synonymous with a dictatorship.

150 thoughts on “Strike Action During a Pandemic!

  1. That’s why i don’t like politics, people tend to display every stupid act they learned and it earns them nothing in return but there they are.. they are on their own, made it very clear the day i came on BU that i dislike politics and want nothing to do with it and even less to do with politicians,…i don’t need them, don’t want them speaking for or representing me anywhere, they are disgraceful and i find associating with them disrespectful to my ancestors…

    Part of the problem is too many are DISCONNECTED from their ancestors, know nothing about their ancestry and cling to what destroys them……and are not even making an effort to reconnect….can’t help them won’t waste the energy, the young need that upliftment right now, the older heads are mostly LOST and GONE..we just got to keep our eyes pinned on everyone and not get sucked into anything..they should have known they were WASTING TIME ON ME…like i told them repeatedly for years…..but they had to pay to learn…

  2. William….no one has ever wasted that much time on me, outside of love interests, as some here on BU….should have known something was very wrong….and all they got for it….is looking more sketchy, don’t think they fall under trustworthy after all of that……while i moved on over 2 years ago and was just putting things in place..

  3. Was trying to give them a photo to commit to memory. Let’s see if it shows up, if not will get it customized better another day.

  4. I conducted two online polls
    (1) Should there be strike action during a pandemic
    90% No 10: % Yes. Not participating 1%: percentages added to more than 100 due to rounding
    (2) Should essential staff be paid during a pandemic
    90% No , 10% Yes
    The outcome still puzzles me. Next thing you know, besides not paying nurses, they will stop nurses with covid-19 from voting. “Get back on the ward”

  5. “Was trying to give them a photo to commit to memory. Let’s see if it shows up, if not will get it customized better another day.”

    Are you an intellectual in disguise
    you are always talking about yourself
    Don’t let it go to your head

    Well everytime I rock a rhyme that show Jamar is intellectual Girls, STILL want to get sexual They try to pull me offstage, hopin’ that we can engage, in some sexual escapades Grabbin’ for the jewels of the fam Actin’ like they never seen God rock a jam in they lifetime, grabbin’ my lifeline

  6. Incumbents still being paid

    By Donna Sealy Government ministers, former Members of Parliament and former senators will still be paid even though that institution was dissolved ahead of the January 19 General Election.
    However, this does not apply to anyone who is not facing the polls unless that person is a member of Cabinet.
    This was confirmed by a senior Government official.
    The practice dates back to the 1978 Senate and House of Assembly (Remuneration And Allowances Of Members) Act and the Ministers And Parliamentary Secretaries (Remuneration And Allowances) Act, found at Chapter 13A and Chapter 8 of the Laws of Barbados, respectively. Both pieces of legislation have been amended through the years.
    Section 5 (1) of the Senate And House Of Assembly
    (Remuneration And Allowances Of Members) Act, titled Payment After Dissolution Of Parliament,
    states: “(a) the holder of the office of President or Speaker shall, notwithstanding the dissolution of Parliament, be deemed to hold office until a new appointment is made to such office; “(b) all persons entitled to emoluments in pursuance of this Act are entitled to receive such emoluments up to and including Nomination Day; and (c) only those persons referred to in paragraph (b) who are nominated for election to Parliament are entitled to emoluments for the period from Nomination Day up to and including polling day.”
    Section 5 (2) of the same Act also makes provision for the Deputy Speaker of the House.
    A senior Government official told the Sunday Sun: “Where the Deputy Speaker performs the functions of Speaker during any period that Parliament is dissolved, he is entitled during such period to a salary equal to that payable to the Speaker under this Act.
    “Backbenchers would have been paid up to Nomination Day [Monday, January 3] and those who weren’t nominated, that’s when their payment would end. Those who are nominated would be paid from January 1 up to January 19, which is polling day.”
    New appointments
    The official said that in addition to the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly and President of the Senate remain in place until new appointments are made after the election.
    The source added that despite the fact that some people had been referring to the Leader of the Opposition as “former” following the announcement of the General Election on December 27, that is certainly not the case as the incumbent office holder remains in place “until another
    Opposition Leader is chosen”, which comes after election day.
    The official also noted that should Parliament have to reconvene in the case of a national emergency, the Members of Parliament – House of Assembly and Senate – would be required to return to deal with any business.
    In relation to the Senate, another Government officer told this newspaper that contrary to what some people think, only the President of the Senate receives a salary. All other senators, unless they are ministers or parliamentary secretaries, receive a stipend or “duty allowance”. They are free to have jobs, as some do, unlike ministers who are required to resign from their jobs if appointed to Cabinet. (GBM)

    Source: Nation

  7. The right to be paid

    Last week the nurses “upped” their industrial action (just when we were all focused on the election) and engaged in a peaceful march and protest through Bridgetown with placards in hand and chants of “No Retreat, No Surrender”. Although the industrial action has continued longer than anyone anticipated, my support remains with the nurses.
    This administration has shown greater regard for every other industrial action that took place between 2019 and 2020 than they have for the nurses’ strike. Even the LIAT workers, many of whose contracts are with the Antigua and Barbuda government (and not Barbados), received more favourable treatment from this administration.
    Yet the Government continues to decline requests to meet with this union and its nurses and apparently also restricted The Most Honourable Jeffrey Bostic from meeting with the parties. So how ironic is it that Barbados Labour Party (BLP) posters are plastered all over the island which describe Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley as “strong and caring” and “safer with Mia”.
    I suspect the 100 nurses who marched on Thursday may disagree and may constitute 100 fewer votes for the BLP. This is a risky political move by the current administration since a large part of the electorate may also be excluded from voting due to COVID-19.
    Nurses’ resolve remains
    In an interview given after the march, Senator Caswell Franklyn explained that the resolve of the nurses remained because “they think they will starve us out, but the nurses are accustomed to not being paid”.
    It is a sad state of affairs when employees do not fear losing pay because non-payment represents the status quo. Imagine being gainfully employed and yet unable to consistently meet basic needs due to the failure of your employer to honour the employment agreement – that is, payment in exchange for the services you provide. What then is the point of showing up to work? The fact that these nurses continued to provide their services for several years despite receiving inconsistent pay is testament to their dedication to their profession. It’s unconscionable for any person to suggest otherwise.
    There can be no greater indictment on an employer than failing to pay or to regularly pay staff for work actually done. The very essence of the employment contract is that the employee will provide his services in exchange for payment.
    Failing to pay an employee for actual work carried out represents a fundamental breach of the employment contract, which goes to the root of the contract and can entitle the employee to treat himself as constructively dismissed.
    Inconsistent salaries
    Unfortunately, nurses are not the only Government employees who complain of receiving inconsistent salaries. The Government must do better to honour its payment obligations to all its employees and third-party contractors. Remember the complaints by those who were retained to clean up the ash fall? Even members of the COVID Monitoring Unit have complained on social media of receiving less salary than was initially agreed.
    While less prominent, there are some instances of employees within the private sector who also work for months without being paid. We saw media reports of staff at the Advocate newspaper who did not receive their salaries due to existing litigation over the estate of the late Sir Anthony Bryan.
    While I understand employers may sometimes experience difficulties in meeting payroll, there are compromises that can be agreed with employees that are more mutually beneficial.
    Consider placing employees on short time or temporary layoff to allow them to receive some unemployment benefits. Where the salaries need to be temporarily reduced, consider granting employees more vacation days, reduced working hours or workload to make up for the reduction in salary.
    However, it is never reasonable to expect the same hours of work or commitment from an employee who cannot rely on an employer to be consistent with payment.
    We must support the right of an employee to agitate over non-payment of salaries, rather than overlook or normalise the occurrence. What else is the point of employment if not to be paid?

    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney with a passion for employment law and labour matters. Email:<

    Source: Nation

  8. “Don’t let it go to your head.”

    nothing goes to my head, too grounded for that, know who i am and where i came from, needed to give those who thought it was a good idea to use me a little background on HOW NOT TO USE SOMEONE who saw what ya were doing all along.

    so how many members does this BU anonymous cult have….5-8….ya will need a good 50-60 to start, ya numbers are too low first off, no one with any real intelligence joins anonymous cults…maybe if ya started a real registration so people would know who everyone is, ya numbers will climb significantly..

    why i needed to show who i am, sat right here and watched WEDGES being driven between people who have been on this blog longer than my 9-10 years….SUCCESSFULLY DRIVEN, some don’t even comment like before, would never have done something so low class….and i have interacted with all of them and now we lost Pacha, temporarily i hope, because of these NEARLY invisible TREACHERIES.

    …i only took offense when the attempt was made REPEATEDLY to SOW SEEDS of division and discord between the people living on the island and those who immigrated to the diaspora and WHO PROP UP THE ISLAND with remittances, that one was not only OUT OF PLACE but taking things too far……….that was when William issued warnings to the clowns who thought that too was a good idea, so that way scuttled, didn’t have the intelligence to take it anywhere anyway

    , but a lot of damage had already been done to the blog….saw it going in the wrong direction….but not my blog, pulling it back was the responsibility of the owner….saw all the underhanded wickedness playing out…..mistake that was made was using me as a distraction. After i got a feel for the perpetrator(s), that blight was successfully removed from my current environment.

  9. William…i know sometimes it don’t seem like am paying attention…but ya can guarantee….VERY LITTLE ESCAPES ME…it’s always filed away to be looked at another day.

  10. All blogs are crap and tend to be random people dueling with nonsense using opposite logic and repeating points.
    Anonymity brings out the ugly side of people that hates others. People who you would not give a seconds thought to in real life are the ones you engage with. Don’t worry yourself over nonsense.

  11. They are free to continue on the same destructive path if they are allowed. People have to know what they want and make their own decisions…a blog comes with a lot of responsibility, and when there are evil forces all around that have been actively trying for 15 years to shut them down, one must always be vigilant…. that’s why i don’t use the options available to me.

  12. Donna January 9, 2022 7:12 AM #: “OK! Now I’m laughing.”

    I wanted to laugh as well.

    Have too many things going on. Am so very busy with my business that am too busy and tired to laugh.


  13. If Pacha does not return to the blog it will PROVE what we are all now thinking and reinforce what others have posted about for YEARS IN WARNING…

  14. Well our Supreme Leader MAM
    has implored all Barbadian electors to give the BLP all 30 seats !

    And MAM further implored that the country need no opposition !


    So December 26, 2021…..MAM had 29 seats in a 30 seat Parliament…..yet she was not contented !

    On December 26, 2021…..she had 18 months left of her 5 year mandate…..yet she was not contented !

    Yet she announced fresh general elections for January 22, 2022 !

    David BU

    As MAM’s personal advisor on this blog……do you know / have an idea of what she wants ?

    And you can …..pick, pick, pick for the answer(s)

    Over to you…..

  15. New polling results for
    (1)Should nurses be paid during a pandemic?
    70% No; 30% Yes.
    Surprising increase in the number of positive responses.
    Starting a new poll
    (2) Should nurses be allowed to vote during a pandemic?
    Please bear in mind that they will be working with covid-19 patients who are not allowed to vote.

  16. Wow. That poll was like giving a stack of pancakes to a hungry crowd. Over 300 responses in five minutes
    (2) Should nurses be allowed to vote during a pandemic?
    No 80%; Yes 20%.
    One person commented, the categories should be “Hell No!” and “Yes”

  17. @Fractured,

    Do not be disingenuous. You well know that she meant voting for an opposition, for the sake of it, rather than on merit, may create more trouble than it is intended to prevent.

    Sadly, to your point, the opposition efforts at campaigning thus far are woeful.

    That, along with the elephant in the room that the DLP leader may have a frail chance at winning her own seat, means that yes, the BLP may deservedly win easily.

  18. Suspiciously, we reached 495 votes and then stalled.
    Researching the reason, but one of my pollster pointed out that we had exactly 495 new covid cases.

    A polite ask: If you have covid-19, please refrain from voting in our poll.
    Pollster note: Here we are trying to poll the same population that would be voting on January 19. It is therefore necessary, to ask covid-19 infected persons not to vote.

  19. @TheOGazerts

    Your next poll question needs to be
    “Should nurses turn up for work if they were not on strike but still were not paid? Hell Yes / Yes / No / Hell No

  20. Leaving was my decision, says Bostic

    FORMER Member of Parliament for The City, The Most Honourable Jeffrey Bostic, has denied there was any falling-out between him and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, saying his decision to leave active politics had been made a long time ago when he planned to give 15 years to it.
    Speaking on a platform mounted to endorse his replacement, Corey Lane, on Monday night, Bostic, who was elected in 2008, said The City area had always suffered under the Democratic Labour Party and he was able to get things done when he was in Opposition and the DLP held the Government.
    He apologised to former constituents for not getting more things done but said this was because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Bostic, who is also Minister of Health and Wellness, touched on several projects completed during his time, including the Golden Square Freedom Park, the allocation of trust loans for small businesses, the paving of roads, the Constitution River project, employment in tourism projects, the distribution of care packages and the housing project in Whitepark Road, St Michael.
    In endorsing Lane, Bostic told him he was well ahead and could build and create his own legacy, adding it would be exciting and productive. (AC)

    Source: Nation

  21. The city is a DUMP and has been that way since Billie The Goat….why is anyone taking credit for keeping it as a dump is beyond me…the minimal work done does not making it any less of a dump.

  22. Franklyn: Focus must stay on nurses

    ONCE THE GREEN LIGHT from the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit (CMU) is given, nurses from the Unity Workers’ Union will participate in a demonstration in The City again on Monday.
    Yesterday, general secretary of the union, Caswell Franklyn, said the march was to keep public attention on the nurses’ concerns, adding that he did not want their issues to shadow the ongoing election climate.
    “The next demonstration would keep the public’s attention on the nurses and hopefully someone would do something. With the elections, people are saying the matter has gone away,” he said.
    He added that the six-week strike had started to take a toll on some of the upset nurses and a few of them returned to work.
    “Some people have gone back to work but not many. Yesterday (Tuesday) there was an issue at the Geriatric Hospital where some of the nurses would have had obstacles put in their way, but they relented and made peace and did what they were asked so they could go back to work. You see this has been six weeks of the strike and the docked pay is taking a toll on some.”
    Around 100 nurses and supporters marched through Bridgetown last Thursday shouting slogans such as “Enough Is Enough” and “No Retreat, No Surrender”.
    More members
    The frustrated health professionals marched for an hour and a half from Cheapside, along Broad Street, Bridge Road and Probyn Street to the Golden Square Freedom Park, where they quickly dispersed under the watchful eye of police officers.
    Franklyn said nurses were preparing for the upcoming march and were just awaiting permission from the CMU.
    He added that more nurses were leaving other unions to join his for better representation.
    “Three members of the Barbados Nurses’ Association executive are now members
    of my union. They have decided that they are getting better representation here.
    “When I started this action we had less than 60 nurses but currently we have about 172 members. That is showing you the confidence they (nurses) are having in this union,” he added.

    Source: Nation

  23. @David January 13, 2022 5:23 AM

    Hindsight being 20/20 vision, a wiser move by Caswell would have been to suspend strike action until the election was over, hold the protest marches and resume strike action on the 24th.

    • To repeat, liken it to a game of chest. The government will work hard to crush Caswell and UWU because they know if he gains a foothold the type of person he is it will not be easy for them. They will work to fix the problems identified but will work hard to make sure he is not seen as a ‘Messiah’. This is not to say the blogmaster does not agree with the cause.

      Your comment against the foregoing is a sensible one.

  24. Strike action needs new tactics.

    A 1 day strike every two weeks in the form of a protest march or picket might be a modern, more effective approach to strike action to keep the issue in the public domain past the 9 day attention span we have.

    • @CA

      This is what we are talking about, their move, your counter. This is what it is about.

      Caswell has been complaining about striking workers not being able to easily return to the job. We need to hear more. Is disciplinary action being taken against striking workers?

    • The challenge is approval for marches must come from the establishment. The workers Caswell represent would have to fall back to tactics QEH are using re: sick out.

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