Trade Unions – A Web of Entanglement

Posted as a comment by Paula Sealy to In the Left Corner (CTUSAB), Right Corner (BWU) blog – Blogmaster

Under Dr. Suckoo CTUSAB was appointed to represent Barbados at the ILO. This position was historically viewed as the birthright of the BWU. The friction started when Sir Roy stepped down as CTUSAB head and was no longer heading to the ILO.

CTUSAB has not escaped the political gimmickry you see. The political incursion into CTUSAB is noteworthy. The DLP appointed the last president of CTUSAB, Cedric Murrell, to head the board of management at St. George Secondary while he was president. And he accepted. So who are the labour leaders serving?

When the head of the Congress agrees to represent the government on a board where labour is to be represented, something is not right but that is the norm for labour leaders in Barbados.

So Toni Moore is not alone. O’Neal was Braddy’s boy long time in the Pine. Mary is in the bosom of the government. Kimberley Agard is right beside her on the bus. Poor Akanni fell off the bus. Pedro Shepherd decided to run when he should have walked instead.

The new BUT president is connected to the former Minister of Education who nominated his father to the QEH board. There is a lot more in that boardroom than the executive.

They are hush-hush but the public is aware that last month’s election results are being challenged by losing candidates who ran for 2nd VP and 3rd VP.

With all of the infighting in the BUT and Mary’s politics the teachers are suffering.

20 thoughts on “Trade Unions – A Web of Entanglement

  1. Let them transition into political parties for they have lost their mornings, as they operate. In ways anathema to workers’ interests, recognize that cultural circumstances have passed them by especially in economy as delivered by neoliberalism, or let them die like dinosaurs.

    • @Pacha

      We have already seen the decline in trade unions reflected in dwindling membership and passive engagement in election of officials etc. it boggles that these pariahs would present themselves to lead trade unions and are happy to position workers to the back of the bus.

  2. If memory serves well the trade Union’s were mutual bedfellows arm in arm with the then opposition lead by Mia Mottley marching across the length and breadth of Barbados in the hot broiling sin asking for all kinds of demands from the then govt of the day
    Two years after the Blp.became present govt
    Toni Moore abandons her role as the mouth piece of the BWU sits on govt bench
    Akanni is kick to the side walk as head of NUPW
    Other Union heads have lost their way
    Well Caswell he tried a thing or two but govt send him packing with dead silence
    What Union’s Mia snap a hot whip across all them backs which have kept them divided and fighting and membership toss some where out there in the wind
    Tanglewood are meant to deceived

    • You always find a way to squeeze every issue to Mottley. Was Walter Maloney a DLP disciple? What about Karen Best? The matter supersedes one political administration.

  3. David

    This was long on the cards. We clearly saw it coming with the arrival of neoliberalism in the 1980s Even as capital fought for nearly a century to roll back gains made by workers especially in the early twentieth century.

    In Barbados we knew we’d lost when trade unions had no real interest in taking over the economic democracy campaign of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    Leroy Trotman, at that time a DLP parliamentarian, was more interested in supplanting Sandiford and being the White people’s boy than taking over the Mutual. More concerned about minuscule wage increases than the worker takeover of government assets being divested under IMF dictation.

    We did now get here overnight. The trade union movement of Grantley Adams, Whinter Crawford and Frank Walcott is long dead and buried. There is no second coming once the singular opportunity to transition workers into the ownership of large enterprises, they themselves built, was missed by a misguided leadership class.

    You should expect more of the same until they cease to exist.

    • @Pacha

      It looks like it. We find ourselves in a place being disappointed because private sector (capital) are slow/refuse to implement ESOP. It should have been trade unions fighting for workers participation. Although it must be said there is benefit in capital being proactive in this matter.

  4. As a member of a Collective Bargaining Unit since the early 80s, I watched with shocked and horror how this Collective Bargaining Unit moved from a place of influenced in the 1980s, to a lackadaisical, ineffective organization that was unable to addressed a lot of the emerging issues between management and the workforce, because the Union Membership had lost the zeal to put pressure on the Union to forced Management to addressed the conditions of the working environment, so everything just fell apart.

  5. DavidMay 11, 2022 5:31 AM

    You always find a way to squeeze every issue to Mottley. Was Walter Maloney a DLP disciple? What about Karen Best? The matter supersedes one political administration
    Everything Mottley name is mention
    Yuh grab yuh pitch fork and poke
    Why ?

  6. Our honourable government should do everything humanly possible to weaken the unions. This is the only way we can keep wages low and tighten working conditions. This creates new jobs through international investment. Foreign investors love countries like Chile.

    So I strongly welcome our union bosses allowing themselves to be politically corrupted. This secures international investment.

  7. PM’s offer to unions, farmers
    Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is willing to meet with the unions to discuss salary increases for public workers but has made it clear her administration will not “do anything that would compromise either the Government or the population”.
    She is also prepared to talk with those farmers who are upset over increased water rates.
    Earlier this week, economist Jeremy Stephen warned that a salary increase for public officers to cope with the rising cost of living was “simply not realistic”.
    He echoed the recent sentiments of Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes, as well as Government’s senior economic advisor Dr Kevin Greenidge, who said any increase in wages must be matched by a rise in productivity.
    Thus far the unions have not thrown out a number that they deem adequate but are insistent that talks must begin on the subject.
    Stressing that she has no intention of preempting any coming negotiations with the unions on the subject, the Prime Minister said Government had already committed to reviewing allowances for public officers, which have not been increased since 2009.
    “I am also however going to say to you that we are not going to do anything to literally compromise either the Government or the population. Therefore, there has to be a judicious approach and the last time I checked, the judicious approach does not include making comments in public before negotiations commence,” said Mottley.
    “So suffice to say whatever we do will be subject of a respectful set of discussions with the unions without prejudice to the fact that I have already signalled Government’s intention to want to see some level of adjustment to allowances, which have not been adjusted for the last 13 years.”
    On the farmers’ concerns, Mottley said that while a case could be made for debt forgiveness on the arrears they owed for water, it was untenable to maintain agricultural water rates at the 66 cents for per cubic metre within a water-scarce country. She added Government had spent a tidy sum in ensuring the availability of water to the farms.
    Close to 25 farmers met at the Wildey Gymnasium on Wednesday night to discuss their concerns over the fixed rate of water moving to $1.80 per cubic metre.
    “I think that was a meeting with a select group of farmers who have a problem in Spring Hall, St Lucy, who also owe the Government funds going back 30 years. They have been paying 60 cents per cubic metre and they have been paying that for 40 years. I don’t know of any rate that you have been paying for 40 years that has not been adjusted at some point in time.
    “Equally, the Government remains willing to meet with them and to listen to them. There may well be a case for us to forgive the debts, but we cannot in today’s world believe that one of the 15 most water-scarce countries in the world can keep water rates at the same levels that they were 40 years ago,” Mottley said.

    Source: Nation

  8. Check the PM language and how it is being couched
    Simply put we will meet but don’t expect much of anything
    Well the farmers have two choice pay old debt or let govt reigned in a smoke and mirror policy under the guise of a lost in unpaid debt
    What the mirror might not be reflecting is a hidden charge included in the water rate part of which can be attribute to unpaid old debt

  9. The wage increase for civil servants as demanded by the shameless unions is downright perverse.

    The fact is that our island is once again bankrupt, this time by COVID19. It is also a fact that there have been no productivity gains whatsoever in the public service.

    So why a monstrous wage increase? Actually, salaries should be halved. The only way I could explain the union’s demand is that they see the public service as a catch-all for the lazy masses who have been sleeping there since 1966 at the expense of hard-working business people.

    If anyone deserves a pay rise, it is our honourable ministers who work day and night for the common good and for the business community.

  10. Look at tough talking CTUSAB!

    CTUSAB not moved by PM’s talk
    The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) is not viewing Government’s commitment to review allowances as much of a compromise in the push for a wage increase for public officers.
    General secretary Dennis De Peiza told the Sunday Sun that allowances and salary increases were separate issues and CTUSAB wanted a solution for all public officers and not just some.
    “We are speaking about a wage and salaries negotiations that involves all sectors of the public service and not looking to any one aspect, which is part of the routine adjustment for public officers. If you are telling the public that something has not been given for X period, then it says that you are acknowledging the need to satisfy the terms and conditions that would have been in place for that period,” he added.
    De Peiza was responding to comments by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on Friday, when she expressed a willingness to meet with the unions to discuss salary increases for public workers to cope with rising cost of living. However, she said her administration will not “do anything that would compromise either the Government or the population”.
    The Prime Minister said Government had already committed to reviewing allowances for public
    officers, which have not been increased for the last 13 years.
    De Peiza said while it is a good sign Government is willing to talk with the unions, he is not reading too much into this development.
    “So let us dismiss this as something that is being thrown out there for public information and therefore does not form part of the structured negotiations that we intend to pursue. I respect the Prime Minister’s right to be speaking to this issue as a public matter, but it would not be fair to use this to suggest if there would be an increase and who will benefit. We are not talking about an individual grouping; we are talking about an increase across the entire public sector.”
    He added: “We have a collective accord and there is an obligation on the part of the Government to meet with the unions on wage and salaries negotiations. There has been hiatus at points and for a lot of reasons things may not have gone in the direction that we would have expected, but that is water under the bridge. What is to happen now is that we are to meet with the Ministry of the Civil Service, and it is at that level we will convene the salary negotiations. We need not get to carried away with emotive language when dealing with this matter.”

    Source: Nation News

  11. Victimisation in the workplace

    I am generally surprised by the number of employees who complain of being victimised at work in some form or fashion. Many of these complaints are made to me by public sector workers but the private sector is not immune. However, not every unpleasant workplace experience amounts to victimisation. Nor are there many instances for which legal protections exist for incidents of victimisation in the workplace.
    So what is victimisation? Simply put, victimisation occurs when an employee is subjected to some form of workplace detriment as a result of a complaint the employee made or as a result of relational difficulties the employee may be experiencing with a superior. The detriment must arise directly or indirectly from the employee’s complaint, and in general it is committed by someone superior to the employee or who has control over the employee.
    Victimisation may take many forms, such as, (a) denying an employee workplace advantages or opportunities such as promotions, training or transfers, (b) subjecting an employee to unfavourable treatment or working conditions like giving the employee unrealistic deadlines or workloads, nitpicking or being overly critical of minor errors made by the employee or refusing to provide the employee with proper work resources. The most serious forms of victimisation occur when either disciplinary measures or dismissal is used to punish an employee who asserts his statutory rights or contractual rights (such as joining a trade union or objecting to the unlawful alteration of his contract terms without his consent).
    There is no general protection for an employee who suffers victimisation during employment, except where the victimisation occurs in response to a complaint an employee makes under the Employment (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) Act or a complaint under the Employment (Prevention of Discrimination)
    Act. There is no direct legislative protection for an employee who suffers victimisation in any other instance. However, where an employee is disciplined as part of the victimisation, he can challenge the fairness of the disciplinary action that is taken. Similarly, where an employee is dismissed as part of ongoing victimisation, then the employee may have a claim for unfair dismissal under the
    Employment Rights Act (“the ERA”).
    Both the Employment (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) Act and the Employment (Prevention of Discrimination) Act make it an offence for an employer to subject an employee to victimisation because (a) the employee made or proposed to make a complaint under any of the Acts; or (b) an employee assisted another employee who made or proposed to make a complaint under the Act. The legislation also makes it an offence for an employer to threaten any employee who proposes to make or to assist someone in making a complaint under either Act. An employer who victimises an employee in any of these instances may be liable to pay a fine of up to $10 000 (under the Sexual Harassment Act) or $20 000 (under the Discrimination Act).
    Additionally, pursuant to section 30 (1) (iv) of the ERA, the dismissal of an employee is automatically unfair where the employee was dismissed because he made or participated in a complaint about a practice of the employer or about a violation of law or breach of the employment contract by the employer. The dismissed employee will be entitled to receive compensation for unfair dismissal (or alternately reinstatement or re-engagement) plus a sum of up to 52 weeks’ wages. While this may serve to deter employers from dismissing employees who make legitimate complaints, I believe the ERA should also contain clauses that make victimisation actionable during the employee’s employment.
    Workplace victimisation can be lessened where employers provide proper and fair channels for resolving employment complaints which include follow-up and oversight post-resolution.

    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney with a passion for employment law and labour matters and is also a social activist.

    Source: Nation

  12. Now the NUPW …

    NUPW staying firm

    GENERAL SECRETARY OF the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Richard Green is maintaining the union’s calls for increased wages for public workers.
    However, retired permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour Elsworth Young and council member of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC), Gail Springer, say a wages and salaries hike could only lead to more negative impacts.
    They are also adamant that productivity has to be increased if more pay is to be provided.
    “If you want to retain jobs in the public service you have to produce, that is the reality. The pensions and Government wages bills are climbing all the time,” Young said.
    “We can’t afford to give civil servants increases across the board and be surprised when the taxes rise. In the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson said they wanted to cut 91 000 jobs, but if the Government of Barbados had even mentioned cuts and sent home ten people, people would holler for murder . . . . We can’t get it both ways.”
    He made those points yesterday during Voice Of Barbados radio callin programme Brasstacks Sunday, which was hosted by Glyne Murray.
    Springer said she did not believe a permanent fix such as salary increases was the best solution to inflation which has led to the rising cost of living.
    “We have to make sure that vulnerable workers and employers are protected from rising costs of energy and food. It’s up to us to come up with solutions that don’t carry that fixed cost on labour and help to manage the wage expectations of people.
    “However, when you affix a permanent solution like a wage increase, you have a spiralling effect on the economy and you don’t ever get out of that. Inflation will come and it will go but when you increase your fixed costs, you increase the cost of all the other things in that system and the price of goods go up to the average man on the
    street,” she said.
    Like Young, she said productivity needed to be improved but suggested a greater focus be put on technology to improve processes.
    “Productivity comes from both capital and labour working together to make sure we are competitive as a nation. We lost a lot of ground from the crisis in the 1990s and after 2009, whereby we worked on these productivity systems. Invariably when humans get comfortable, things improve and we go back to the same old thing of applying wage increases. But the world has digitally transformed and we have to move with it or get left behind,” she added.
    Both the NUPW and umbrella body, Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, have called for a rise in wages.
    While not ruling out a wage increase, the Barbados Workers’ Union said it was also advocating for greater conditions across the board.
    Meanwhile, Green denied claims that workers and the union were not pushing the issue of productivity.
    “When there is an economic challenge or there is a significant rise in the price of goods and services, and workers start to agitate, then we hear about linking increases to productivity. We have a problem with that because we have championed, we have gone out there and led the conversation about getting our workers to be more productive and doing better to create a culture of productivity.
    “Whenever we find that workers’ purchasing power is diminished, then we hear we have to link the need for an increase to an increase in productivity. We find it a little bit unfair to be trying to link this productivity to salaries as opposed to having a continuous programme of how people produce in the public service,” Green said. Last Friday, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said she was willing to meet with the unions to discuss salary increases, but her administration will not “do anything that would compromise either the Government or the population”.

    Source: Nation

  13. Penny wise pound foolish
    “In the early stages of the COVID pandemic, scores of workers were laid off as the tourism industry came to a halt. In some cases, tourism workers protested the conditions under which they were severed and took bosses to task for failing to honour some of their financial obligations.

    On the other hand, the Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation programme assisted tourism stakeholders with keeping their businesses operating despite the absence of visitors.”

  14. BUT to probe stench at L.T. Gay

    THE BARBADOS UNION of Teachers (BUT) will be conducting an investigation into more environmental issues at the Lawrence T. Gay Memorial Primary School today.
    Yesterday, general secretary of the union, Herbert Gittens, told the DAILY NATION that some members of staff had reported an issue and had gone home.
    “We are planning to visit tomorrow (today). We understand there was a stench, so we are going tomorrow to get a better understanding of what is happening. I heard that some members of staff had gone home because they were affected but not that there was an early closure of school,” he said.
    The Spooners Hill, St Michael school had closed on many occasions throughout the years due to environmental issues.
    The school closed in 2016, 2019 and 2020.
    In January, just before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Barbados in March 2020, the students were relocated to various churches. (SB)

    Source: Nation

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