Industrial action is looming in the tourism and security services sectors in Barbados.
General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, Sir Roy Trotman, told a news conference at Solidarity House this afternoon, that the union had served notice on Silver Point Villa Hotel in Silver Sands, Christ Church of possible action and sent a warning to G4S Security.
Sir Roy disclosed that the BWU now had evidence that at Silver Point Villa, Barbadians were being subjected to work and working conditions that were less than humane and decent.
“Those conditions are conditions which we have refrained from going public on because at this time we think that social dialogue ought to be better, given the state of the Barbadian economy. We are hearing of breaches in the terms of employment of the workers. We are hearing of complaints regarding the occupational safety and health conditions under which people are required to work.
“There have been problems of companies taking service charge monies and workers having difficulties being able to reconcile what they get with what their understanding is,” explained the BWU leader.
He also reported claims of the termination of employees without cause and with the employer refusing to meet with the union.
“We are particularly concerned about this because, coming at this time, it really opens the door for a spate of industrial incidents. And we do not believe this is in the best interest of Barbados and particularly not in the tourism sector,” declared the veteran trade union leader.
Sir Roy told reporters the employer of the Silver Point Villa, which has been a long-standing member of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, was even now telling the union it wanted to review that membership.
“An employer doesn’t need to belong to an association to know whether he is treating people in accordance with the tenets of decent work relationships in accordance with what is proper and legal and in accordance with what is healthy and safe at the work place,” asserted the BWU boss.
“Regrettably though, we have to serve notice on this employer. We have to serve notice on the hotel industry, that unless the hotel industry is able to bring a level of discipline to those people in the industry, then it may force industrial dislocation and that is an evil wind that blows no one any good whatsoever,” he warned.
Sir Roy also announced a deteriorating relationship between the union and G4S Security, accusing that firm of breaching international labour convention which upheld freedom of association and the apparent denial of pension and proper wages.
He said the security company was discriminating against the president of the union division at his workplace and even writing the union suggesting that the president would not be recognised. The BWU boss said that matter would be taken before the Chief Labour Officer, but the other issue, he hoped it could be resolved at the domestic level.
He noted that in spite of previous meetings with the company, there had been no improvements in the relationship, and something stronger was now needed. Sir Roy said the union expected to meet shortly with the G4S management to try to avoid industrial action. (EJ)