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Supporting the BWU

Sometimes we think of the Barbados Workers Union as primarily the leadership, particularly when it comes to agreements between management and the employees. This is not so.

Many years ago when we, the employees, at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation were working on the first agreement four staff members, three of whom are now deceased, spent many a Sunday morning at the then union headquarters on Fairchild and Nelson streets with a Mr. Oxley, hammering out details.

At first it was Reynold Culpepper, Ed Brown and I to be joined subsequently by Art Tappin when we got to look at television. The main task was to try to come to an appreciation of the equivalences in various jobs. It was through this work that the first union agreement came into force.

Of course it was not always love and light between the union and yours truly. Well do I remember the first island-wide general strike in the early 70’s; naturally as the then President of the Division I was expected to go on strike. I did not. I along with a few hardy souls worked through the day on radio and by afternoon some television staff had started to come in.

In fact we managed to prepare all the news casts for the day including television news. The irony of the day was, for me, when a union representative called the news room to let us know how the strike went so the information could be put into the news. HA!

On the occasion of the next general strike more of the news staff did not go out. Sometimes, we have to measure the greater good of a country above that of an institution, even a labour union whose work I, generally, fully support.

Happy 71st BWU!

-Michael Rudder

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