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Sir Roy sends warning to tough bosses

Sir Roy Trotman

Head of Barbados’ largest trade union is today sounding a warning to bosses who want to rule with a “fist of iron”.

General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Sir Roy Trotman, said that in modern Barbados, they were finding a disturbing situation where employers were meting out the “full measure of the anger and disagreement” when staffers exercised their constitutional right to join a trade union.

Addressing the media at a Press conference this afternoon at the BWU’s Solidarity House, St. Michael headquarters, to speak about the agenda and resolutions to be discussed during the 71st Annual Delegates conference this Saturday and again on September 1, he said that the trade union was going ahead with the “body of labour proposals for adjustment” they spoke about during the May Day celebrations on Browne’s Beach.

The BWU had indicated then that as part of CTUSAB, it was preparing the proposals which they hoped to be looked at and addressed within a 12-month period and that after submission around November, “Government would then be able to get back to us with a body of amendments to current labour legislation to make the plight of workers much more palatable that it now appears to be”.

“Among those areas where we have recognised hostility and unpleasantness and freedom of association, the right of workers to join trade unions, we are finding the very alarming situation that we have the good news of a Government passing without a division in the Parliament, an Employment Rights Act but at the same time employers in Barbados deciding that workers who join trade unions and who express their freedom to so associate, that they would receive the full measure of the anger and disagreement of employers.

“We are also finding very sadly that some employers who cannot deny the freedom of association are endeavouring to deny the right to bargain collectively and that where we have certain collective agreements, some new employers who like Pharoh who knew not Joseph, have taken over some companies [and] are deciding that they will now be ruling with the rod of iron, a fist of iron, and that they will not be allowing workers to enjoy the rights which they previously enjoyed. They want to have absolute rule and absolute control with all the frivolousness or frivolity of an absolute monarch. We cannot permit this and we are going to be putting measures of that kind to the administration,” he said.

Sir Roy said the conference was “very important”.

“It is a last ditch effort apparently being made by many, even though the trade union movement in Barbados has demonstrated beyond the shadow of any doubt that it is without equal the friend of the worker, the friend of the national and the friend of the visitor to Barbados and that we in labour have done more that any other single party to establish stability and reliability and sustainability in a country, which might otherwise have gone to the dogs.

“If for doing that we are now treated in the way we are seeing ourselves, being subjected if all the signs are pointing correctly, then quite naturally we will have a problem. …” he asserted.

Chief Justice Marston Gibson is slated to give the feature address on Saturday and Minister of Labour, Esther Byer-Suckoo, who would be giving the reflections on labour.

Sir Roy said that he had “no doubt whatsoever” that the Minister would be making reference not only to the Employment Rights Act but the challenges which the BWU put out to the Government in May.

The trade union leader said he was hoping that the conference, which would be attended by 560 delegates, would allow the trade union to work out “a body of strategies and new approaches which might save the day for the country and would see the same equanimity of spirit, the same willingness that pervaded Barbados over the several years of the social partnership continuing and leading us hrough these difficult times to safer and better waters”. (DS)

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