by Emmanuel Joseph
The Barbados Workers Union tonight received the overwhelming backing of its membership to institute a
national strike. House, BWU General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman put all But General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman said because he other employers on notice.
wanted an element of surprise, only he knew the date and time.
He told reporters he would make that know shortly. The backing was taken tonight during a sometimes noisy general meeting of all divisions of the BWU, which it had summoned to strategise on the action, after negotiations broke down last night with LIME over its termination of 97 employees.
In a near one-hour address that was intermittently interrupted by loud applause from the more than 600 workers who packed the auditorium at Solidarity
“We have to send a message to the employer class. If we are going to be dragged down and knocked down, we are not going to do it alone, we are going to fight back,” cautioned Sir Roy.
The union leader told the meeting of a wide cross section of private and public sector workers, that LIME management had sent bailiffs late at night to deliver letters of termination to the laid off staff, as though they were common criminals.
Sir Roy took a swipe at some persons on the call-in radio programmes who questioned the logic of the union planning strike action in the current economic recession.
The veteran trade unionist suggested that it was folly for any of “the gurus” in the media to ask workers to surrender their rights because there was a recession.
“We have come here, not because we are hot and sweaty. We see a level of arrogance that if we don’t deal with it now, it will put us in our graves,” he asserted.
He also challenged anyone who complained of poor customer service by the employees of the telecoms company to carry out a poll.
Sir Roy gave the assurance that if such a survey was done, one would find that the workers were not to blame, but the lack of support given by LIME to do the job and the lack of proper equipment.
He noted that this whole issue was about respect for rules and processes.
The prominent union leader condemned the company’s Managing Director Alex McDonald, whom he charged breached the process of collective agreement and the rules governing industrial relations.
“If you are playing hide and seek and hitty bitty shut up yuh lap tight tight, yuh got rules for that,” declared Sir Roy.
Without identifying them, he referred to at least two other companies which he accused of “doing the same thing” as LIME.
He put them on notice.
Tonight’s meeting ended with the singing of the rallying song of labour, Solidarity Forever.