BWU’s wrong, says employers’ union
The union which represents local private sector bosses thinks the Barbados Workers Union planned national strike against one of its members is unwarranted.
LIME is a member of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, and today the BEC said the BWU’s announced intention to call all of its members out on industrial action was not following established practice.
Like the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry it also warned that the Barbados economy would be severely affected by a national strike.
“While the employees’ accredited bargaining agent reserves the right to threaten to take strike action, we believe that in this case, the call for a general strike is not warranted,” the BEC said.
“Such strike action can/will inflict irreparable damage to the economy of Barbados and the long-term sustainability of several business ventures, exacerbating an already weak employment environment.”
The organisation also said while negotiations between the BWU and LIME had broken down at the level of the minister of labour, this did not empower the union to take industrial action on the scale it had announced.
“Under locally and regionally established industrial relations practice, while negotiations and disputes remain under the chairmanship of the minister of labour or other authority, the parties to the collective labour agreement shall not take industrial action,” the BEC stated.
Specifically, this means that there shall neither be strike action by the employees or their accredited representatives nor a lock out of employees by the employer.”
The employer representative said up to now it had refrained form making public statements “on the deterioration of the industrial relations climate in Barbados” because it believed there were “appropriate systems and procedures in place to handle any labour management disputes which may arise from time to time”.
“These mechanisms have always presumed that all parties involved are reasonable, mature, honest and respectful of the other’s rights,” it noted.
The BEC also observed that since the end of last year “the industrial relations climate in Barbados has shown a noticeable decline occasioned by difficulties reportedly experienced in reaching an amicable settlement” involving the protracted negotiations between LIME and BWU. (SC)