Not surprised by BWU’s move

I am neither shocked nor surprised at the action of the General Secretary of the BWU in leaving CTUSAB and by extension the Social Partnership, reported in the Barbados Today of April 19, 2013.

The move is typical of the brinkmanship and an extension of the grandstanding that is part of his modus operandi; and is most unfortunate at this juncture of his career.

No one can question the considerable contribution the General Secretary has made nationally, regionally and internationally during his tenure in office. However, that tenure is coming to an end – even he has hinted at this more than once. It is desirable, even necessary that our workers continue to have the most capable and highest level of union representation – they need and deserve it.

It also will be to our credit that we nurture future labour leaders who can engage at the national, regional and international level in keeping with the world image of us as being able to “punch above our weight”. In addition, we must maintain the high profile in and access to leaders of bodies such as the ILO.

Succession planning and exposure of up and coming labour leaders to the workings of institutions such as the ILO and its organs must be part of this process. I therefore applaud the authorities who have had the foresight to provide the opportunity where others can add to the lessons and experiences necessary for their development and growth as mature labour leaders.

The workers deserve no less. An enlightened and unselfish leader would be part of the mentoring and nurturing, to ensure handover to capable mature future labour leaders.

The general secretary’s threats not to take “lying down” his exclusion from the Barbados contingent to the ILO Congress and further, to ask the ILO credentials committee to “look at the question of Barbados representativity” is childish and reprehensible.

His innuendos about his trade union comrades and other members of the Barbadian contingent are disloyal and unfortunate. His subtle reference to the size of the Barbadian workforce at his command is nothing more than a sulking reaction, laced with threats and intimidation.

I expect that his further reaction will be to deny CTUSAB members use of BWU facilities. He also will no doubt refuse to participate in future meetings of the Social Partnership. I anticipate that his language will also become more terse, acerbic and disparaging. Will he also call out his members or lead marches?

His reaction is reminiscent of a boy who has the cricket bat and insists that other members can play only if he is the captain.

In reality, the General Secretary has climbed out on a limb, it is left to be seen, if he will continue to saw it away from the tree.

– Algy Miller

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