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.

In the Left Corner (CTUSAB), Right Corner (BWU)

Two media reports caught the eye of the blogmaster on May Day, a day set aside to “commemorate the efforts and victories of the workers’ class and the labour movement”.

The first was President Edwin O’Neal of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) giving notice in his May Day address under the Clement Payne slogan Educate, Agitate But Do Not Violate to all and sundry, he intends to defend the organization with all he can muster see – CTUSAB: Don’t mess with us.

The other item was from General Manager Toni Moore of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) in a SEPARATE address at a DIFFERENT location delivering a May Day message. The BWU withdrew from CTUSAB the umbrella union body in 2013 readers may recall – see earlier BU blog Barbados Workers Union Boots CTUSAB.

Why are the two items of interest?

We have two entities promoting themselves as advocates for the rights of workers and in the glare of the public it presumes to represent are unable to reconcile differences going on for 9 years and counting. In the same period , workers have been embarrassed to ALSO witness incompetence, political interference and diminishing role of other major unions in a period labour has been under attack given a cataclysmic shift in labour capital dynamic in the last 20 years in Barbados and internationally. The shining light during a growing period of darkness, Caswell Franklyn and his Unity Workers Union. Through the embarrassing nine year imbroglio, successive government ministries of labour have satisfied the description of being moribund and supine.

Piss in the blogmaster’s pocket do.

Prison Officers Leave CTUSAB

CASWELL FRANKLYN

Trading as

VERITAS SERVICES

Upstairs Worrell House

Whitepark Road

St. Michael

PRESS STATEMENT

As the Industrial Relations Consultant to the Prison Officers Association (The Association) I have been authorised by the Executive of the Association to issue the following statement:

Prior to 1982 prison officers enjoyed the constitutional right to belong to a trade union of their choice, and as a matter of fact there was a prison officers division of the National Union of Public Workers. In that year an amendment to the Prisons Act provided for the establishment of the Prison Officers Association.

As a result of that amendment, prison officers lost their constitutionally guaranteed right to belong to a trade union. Section 24A of the Prison Act states:

24A.(1) There shall be established an Association to be known as “the Prison Officers Association”.

(2) The purpose of the Association is to enable prison officers to bring to the attention of the Superintendent, the Board and the Minister matters affecting the welfare and efficiency of prison officers.

(3) No representation may be made by the Prison Officers Association in relation to any question of discipline, promotion, transfer, posting, leave or other matter that affects an individual member of the Association.

(4) The Prison Officers Association shall be independent of, and unassociated with, any association outside the Service, other than similar Associations in and for Anguilla, Antigua, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent or Trinidad and Tobago.

Further, at section 24C the amendment goes on to prohibit a prison officer from becoming a member of unauthorised associations. Interestingly, among other things, subsection (5) defines “unauthorised associations” to mean a trade union as defined in section 2 of the Trade Unions Act.

Notwithstanding this prohibition, since 1992 the Government of Barbados has allowed the Association to become a member of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), and by so doing, the Government has allowed prison officers to freely associate with trade unions and become part of the much vaunted Social Partnership. In addition, management of the prison has facilitated the Association’s membership in CTUSAB by granting officers time off to attend trade union activity.

The President of the Association Mr. Trevor Browne, even though maintaining his innocence, has been charged with essentially carrying out the functions normally associated with a trade union leader.

In order to protect its members from any further criminal charges arising from its association with trade unions or anything that is likely to be interpreted as trade union activity, the Prison Officers Association has terminated its membership in CTUSAB, until such time as the 1982 amendments to the Prisons Act are repealed by Parliament or struck down by the High Court.

CASWELL FRANKLYN

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CONSULTANT

Cedric Murrell Describes Sending Home 3,000 Public Workers as UNFORTUNATE

Submitted by Anthony Davis

Cedric Murrell, CTUSAB

Cedric Murrell, CTUSAB

The position which will see 3000 public servants placed on the breadline between January 15 and March 15, 2014, is “unfortunate”, and clearly . . . a situation where Government had no other choice. This is the position being held by the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), and articulated by its president, Cedric Murrell, following a meeting with Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, this morning. What I will say to people generally in this country, because we don’t know who is going home, is that they must have faith. They must have an understanding that there are times when an economy goes through trials and tribulations. (But) what we have to recognize is that the only way we can positively move from this position by growing this economy. By growing this economy, it means that every single person in this country, has to see how best they can contribute to the sum total of the output of this country. With regard to a perceived snub by Government, and them not being informed about the plans to sever workers, he noted that that matter had been discussed and resolved – page 3 of “Barbados Today, dated 18 December, 2013

My, my, my, My mind boggles, Mr. Murrell!

What kind of drivel are you spewing to 3000 people – whom you and the other head honchos are supposed to be representing, but are doing a very poor job of doing – by telling them to have “faith” in these harsh economic times? Why don’t you, and your ilk who are in your tax bracket – and especially you three – give at least 10% of the money you receive – whether you have earned it or not is a horse of another colour; I do not think that you have earned yours, as you have done a great disservice to the public servants of our country –  to the Inland Revenue, to help this Government which has boxed in itself by having an incompetent Minister of Finance, and help those you are supposed to represent?

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Barbados Workers Union Boots CTUSAB

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group

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

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

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

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

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

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Workers Misrepresentation, Who Benefits?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Recently the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Dale Marshall, accused the National Union of Public Workers of playing politics. That caused me to reflect on the state of trade union representation in this country and wonder if the accusation was true for other unions. A comparison of the roles played by the unions during different political administrations would suggest that Marshall had justifiable reasons to come to his conclusion. During the DLP administration, you tend to get the impression that unions are bending over backward to accommodate the Government. When the BLP is in office, unions tend to be a bit more active which can be attributed to the fact that most union leaders appear to favour the DLP.

From inception workers have been complaining that the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) has not been acting in the best interest of workers, and that it has been used to keep workers quiet while the employers and Government, as the other members of the so called Social Partnership, gained at the expense of the workers. The list below which speaks for itself represents most of the major actors who played pivotal roles in the formation and continued existence of CTUSAB, and others who were active in their individual unions:

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