Labour Minister reacts to strike threat
Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Dr Esther Byer believes that the recent threat of a national strike by Barbados Workers Union (BWU) General Secretary Toni Moore, is aimed at finding a speedy resolution to the several labour issues engulfing the country.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY shortly after delivering the feature address at the opening of a Translation Bureau at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus this morning, Byer said while she understood Moore’s intentions, she didn’t think “things would come to that”.
However, she indicated that the BWU boss was simply playing to her strengths.
“I know Ms Moore is trying to get some movement in those particular areas. She knows where her strengths are and where her clout is, so you have to play to your strength and I gather that’s what she was doing,” Byer explained.
“The strength of a union is to be able to say we can do this if we have to. Hopefully it won’t come to that. I know she listed the Customs guards as an area of concern and I know that has been dealt with, so certainly that is one less area that she has to concern herself with.
“Essentially I think what she has done is lit a fire under all of the stakeholders so that they would get moving on their commitments. She has to do that to be able to get the movement and if I were her I’d probably do the same thing . . . but I anticipate it shouldn’t come to that,” she added.
Byer said she clearly understood Moore’s frustration at the slow pace in which some of the negotiations were taking place.
However, she pointed out that one of those impasses, involving the union and the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) had been transferred to her and would be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
The minister insisted: “BL&P is at me and I anticipate that we should see some movement in all of the different areas.
“I can’t give a time frame right now because as always, it depends on the availability of persons. In fact, I haven’t even seen the file yet. I’m told the Chief Labour Officer has said he sent it to me, but I now have to sit with him today and look at it, but it depends on availability and other things so I can’t say for sure.
“But it is a priority and we will deal with it as soon as everybody is able to sit down and get cracking,” Byer assured.