Now is not the time to strike, warns employers
The umbrella trade union for employers in Barbados is cautioning that a major strike in the current economic climate would definitely not be good for the country’s recovery.
Executive Director of the Barbados Employers Confederation (BEC) Tony Walcott said today the proposed “national” strike by the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) could not be welcomed.
Walcott was speaking against the backdrop of a warning this morning by Barbados Workers Union (BWU) General Secretary Toni Moore that the union would likely opt for “one big” strike, rather than pockets of industrial action that involved sectors such as tourism, construction, financial services, agriculture, utilities, private security and Customs.
Moore said union officials were tired of talking for years with employers who, in her opinion, were simply disrespecting workers and failing to honour their commitments, as well as unilaterally changing conditions of employment and refusing to pay outstanding monies.
However, Walcott told Barbados TODAY while he had not received any formal notification of any industrial action from the BWU, he did not support any such move at this time.
“Any disruption to the economic activity in an economy, which is struggling to recover, is not welcomed,” he said.
Walcott also responded to Moore’s comments that the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), which the BEC represents, was seeking to resume negotiations on a new collective agreement before a five-year salary and back pay dispute, involving Sandy Lane, was first resolved.
His comments follow a meeting held this morning between the BWU and representatives of the BHTA.
At the end of those talks, Walcott said he left “with the understanding that we would try to seek some further clarification. But as far as I am aware, we are still at the negotiation table,” he added.
Walcott also said he could not respond to other complaints levelled by the BWU against other employers in the absence of specifics.
“I don’t respond to general comments, I deal with specifics. Until they give me specifics for us to respond to them, I ain’t got nothing to respond to,” the employers’ spokesman emphasized.