A leading labour boss has described the current environment in Barbados as the worst he has ever seen it in his 40 plus years as a trade unionist.
And for the general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Sir Roy Trotman, this is worrisome.
“I know that we had large numbers in 1991, but we were satisfied that there was a year and a half as a programme period. When we looked at this one in 2008, and we tried to look at how we could get out of it, we were hoping that in a year and a half we might have been able to see some growth and some sunshine.
“Instead the situation has not got better, and we are in a position today where we are talking about the layoff of about 3,000 people, and possibly more. What this has meant is that everybody that was involved in this has had all kinds of nightmares; all forms of pressure regarding what is it that we might do as individuals or as groups of individuals to make the conditions, the living standards and the future of those large number of people more livable,” he said during a news conference this afternoon.
When asked where he saw the current situation heading, Sir Roy, who retires at the end of August, told journalists: “[F]rankly that is still the nightmare that we are faced with. I don’t think that there has been anything as awful as this in my years. [But] I don’t see it as a fait accompli. I understand that the Government needs to bring down its expenditure to a certain level and we are feverishly at whatever levels we can, endeavouring to find ways by which to address that.”
Drawing reference to an option he had earlier placed on the table for a group of civic-minded Barbadians to put forward initiatives to reduce any fallout from Government’s fiscal consolidation plan, Sir Roy further suggested Government move with haste in getting such a committee up and functioning.
“A group of people who have demonstrated that they want to see growth return to Barbados; let them meet with Government officials and the trade union movement.
“Anybody else that can help with the exercise and endeavour in that exercise to see how we can find the creation of new exercises, new jobs, new initiatives in the public sector, as well as in the private sector that will see the creation of jobs and then reestablishment of jobs in the Public sector.
“My wish would be, in as brief a time as possible, those persons who may lose their jobs in this exercise that they may be able to find new employment and those number of persons who have not been working and those who are just about getting ready to enter the job market that they would also have some areas for hope,” he said.
The labour boss noted that as it stood now, the climate was much too bleak, but he was confident that if all Barbadians were to put our hands to the plough and if we were to work together to try to find new methodologies and modalities, that we can have an easement in some of the pain and suffering which stares us in the face.” (RG)