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Let us reason

Dr Esther Byer wants more talk with unions

With threats of more industrial action by public sector unions, Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer is urging the trade unions to return to the bargaining table.

Suggesting that today’s protest over the forced retirement of some Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) workers was premature, Byer repeated an earlier assertion that while she respected the workers’ and their unions’ right to protest, she believed all avenues had not been exhausted.

“I really cannot see any justification for even escalating it further by any involvement of other parties without the proper consultation,” Byer told the media on the sidelines of the launch of Occupational Safety and Health Week at the Accra Beach hotel this morning, as protesters marched through The City.

“This strike, is it to prove that we can strike? But that is enshrined in the law. You can strike, but there is usually a process that says we talk. And the consultation has been only at domestic level. Yes, they met with Minister [of Industry and Commerce Donville] Inniss, but that is the minister responsible for the BIDC so that is still at domestic level. They haven’t carried it any further than that. They need to do that. And I urge them to do that,” she said.

When contacted Inniss said he had no comments.

Byer said she believed “at the end of the day we still are going to have to come sit down and consult in order to get this problem resolved”.

 Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer

Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer

“We have to come back to the table, and it is not as if this strike is an effort to bring the parties to the table, because there has been no effort. Nobody has asked the Chief Labour Officer –– and that is his area of expertise –– to bring the parties to the table,” pointed out Byer.

“I respect the rights of the workers to do what is in their power and I respect the work that is being done by unions also to get what is fair and just for workers. But I think that usually a strike action is later down the programme. We haven’t talked enough,” she insisted.

The Minister said the authorities had invited the various parties back to the negotiating table but no one had taken up the offer.

“So I think clearly that there is more of an interest in the strike than there is an interest in coming to have a chat,” she said.

Asked if she would be reaching on the trade unions again Byer said: “no, I think at this point they know of our willingness and . . . that we are interested in talking. I don’t know that I will be calling again, but my office is opened, the Chief Labour Officer has indicated that his office is opened, the Prime Minister has indicated that he is willing to talk as well.

“But if the parties need to be able to do this to let off some steam so they can sit and talk, if that is what gets us back to the table then I hope it is successful in that regard,” she added.

Chief Labour Officer Vincent Burnett could not confirm if the labour department was contacted, pointing out that at the time the BIDC staff were sent home he was attending the International Labour Organization (ILO) conference in Geneva.

When asked by Barbados TODAY to comment further on the development Burnett would only say that “the only way you settle things is at the table”.

When approached executive director of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC) Tony Walcott refused to comment.

Following today’s strike, the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) held a two-hour meeting at the office of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to assess the situation.

The BPSA Chairman Alex McDonald told Barbados TODAY the meeting was to discuss the impact the strike had on private sector operations and “come up with a position where we will go if this matter persist further”.

However, McDonald declined to disclose what ideas were put forward, noting that the BPSA was scheduled to have another meeting.

“The size of the action today mitigated deep impact. What it did do though, was to send a message that there is a seriousness about this issue and about the broader issues that we have heard,” said McDonald, pointing out that there was need for more meaningful dialogue at the level of the social partnership.

He said members of the private sector wanted the issue to be resolved, adding that it did not reflect well on the country.

“We can’t have our unions go out on a quasi national strike or leading into a more serious strike and there needs to be a reaction to see how we can circumvent that. What we absolutely want is more dialogue,” said McDonald.

Asked if he was approached by the union about the possibility of including private sector members in future protest action, McDonald was coy.

“We are always in talks with all of the partners, with government and with the unions. We have reached out to all sides and obviously each side has its own case, ” he said.

26 Responses to Let us reason

  1. Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews July 7, 2015 at 7:24 am

    7 years too late

  2. Winnie Meade
    Winnie Meade July 7, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Henderson Cheltenham you got to be mad people are out of work cannot pay bill buy food then you have the nerve to say people don’t want to work over 5000 out of work and more each day you must have a rich family if not you must have a job that no one can take away from you the name I want to call you I cannot but god is not a sleep

    • Hightower Bajedude
      Hightower Bajedude July 7, 2015 at 8:27 am

      Henderson Cheltenham this DLP regime is the worst ever and very vindictive. And the PM don’t have a clue

    • Cumberbatch Sophia
      Cumberbatch Sophia July 7, 2015 at 10:43 am

      They are not only striking for the 10 people they are also striking for the 5000 plus from the government and Lots knows how many from private sector. I haven’t worked in this country for over two years

  3. Zeke Fahrid
    Zeke Fahrid July 7, 2015 at 7:35 am

    To use the words of reggae artist Bounty killer “POOR PEOPLE FED UP”!!

    • Cumberbatch Sophia
      Cumberbatch Sophia July 7, 2015 at 10:41 am

      So a person is just to work and pay bills and buy groceries .Let only the politicians go and eat champagne and caviar. The Dems is the worst government. Study it when the Dems in people does be poor.

  4. Zeke Fahrid
    Zeke Fahrid July 7, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Impress Asha Pilgrim don’t tolerate those type of taunts and insults from him!.. Henderson Cheltenham you or no one who claims to be so faithful to the Democratic labour party can honestly tell me that what you’re getting now is what you signed up for!! If you can sincerely say that you’re quite content and satisfied with the job that your administration has been doin, then you’re a bigger fool than you portray to be.. A bigger idiot than I’ve been giving you credit for!!.. Stop being blinded by party colour!!.. Don’t stifle your conscience.. As de old people say ‘wen ya own dog bite ya, ya well bitten’ this has to be a bitter pill for you and your kind to swallow!

  5. Greitcha Smith
    Greitcha Smith July 7, 2015 at 7:56 am

    That is the problem right there, people tired of the sweet talk. You can’t take the talk to pay your bills. And while we talking about paying bills and money, months ago you were going to do something about people getting paid their unemployment benefits. Too many promises which are not kept. What happened or are we still talking stupse. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

  6. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock July 7, 2015 at 8:43 am

    You all didn’t have any when you came up with the idea, it was well planned out as you seek legal advice before embarking on the IMF order.

  7. Harry turnover July 7, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I would suggest to the Unions that they follow Dr.Byers’ request and get back to the table with the PM et al and see what would happen.

    If nothing happens and the might of the Unions is set upon the Country what will she and others say then.

    I don’t know why those in Authority cannot see this move as one which would deplete the NIS funds in a hurry.
    If people are forced to retire BEFORE the ESTABLISHED age of 67,then EVERYBODY will be FORCED to take EARLY
    NIS pensions.
    That means more people not working = less NIS contributions,which in turn mean more NIS money going out than coming in.
    That ad sometime ago about encouraging people to take early NI was a BIG MISTAKE.They thought that by doing that and with the reduction in pensions that would have benefited them.
    I know someone who showed me the figures and who took early NI pension with a reduction of 35 % who was not yet 67 and have received over $ 80,000 from them so far.
    It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that the person who took early NIS at 60 ,that in 12 years ( age 72 ) he would have received more than the one at the same age 72 who took the full NIS pension at age 67.

  8. Doria Alleyne
    Doria Alleyne July 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

    SERIOUSLY WOMAN.ARE YOU FOR REAL??????????????:V :V :V :V :V

  9. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar July 7, 2015 at 9:29 am

    The time to reason was destroyed the moment the workers were sent packing wihout meeting the workers representatives, the Trade Union.This government has broken every laws in Babados, and show a very bad example to the Private Sector. Take back the workers, sit with the Union and dialogue with a view of seeking alternative to the termination. The Employment Rights Act speaks to terminatiom as a very last resort. The matter was handle badly.

  10. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar July 7, 2015 at 9:29 am

    The time to reason was destroyed the moment the workers were sent packing wihout meeting the workers representatives, the Trade Union.This government has broken every laws in Babados, and show a very bad example to the Private Sector. Take back the workers, sit with the Union and dialogue with a view of seeking alternative to the termination. The Employment Rights Act speaks to terminatiom as a very last resort. The matter was handled badly.

  11. Colette Felix
    Colette Felix July 7, 2015 at 9:53 am

    So all the meetings she had with the unions wasn’t that negotiations, stupseeeeee, she is as complete moron,this woman does get on my lassssttttt good frigging nerves,stupseeeeee

  12. jrsmith July 7, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Dear all ,I have taken my eyes off the unions and this dispute.

    We all must notice, the priminster , says nothing, he doesn’t engage, himself , with any activity to show responsibility on the government behalf towards bajans.

    The unions need to fight a different battle, they need to start being vocal, making it clear to the politicians, this might be the first and the last and the last time for most of them, I do hope we never see on this Barbados a bunch of politicians, as likeness to this lot at present.

    Rude, disrespectful, out of touch with the people, no ideas on the economy, management of Barbados, being paid for failure.

    My focus, is on the minister for labour, why , why the activation , why now is she so concern.

  13. Patrick Blackman July 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    The minister is correct, whether you like it or not.

  14. Biggert July 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Time for talking done. Ask the PM he know nuff bout how not to talk.

  15. Harry turnover July 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Today for this batch of workers if one is sent home at age 60.and tomorrow for the others in both the GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE sector IF this is allowed.

    So those people who feel that it is not affecting them now,let this ” get way ” and see wha gine happen as soon as ya reach 60.

    I wonder how many people know that those appointed in the Government service after 1975 will only be getting ONE pension administered by the NIS,and a reduced one at that .

    The NIS ALSO says that IF ONE RETIRES BEFORE the retirement age of 67 their pension WILL be further REDUCED by about 6 or
    7 % per year up to the retirement age.

    So I say to those persons ESPECIALLY,to get on board otherwise the ” dog dead “

  16. Tony Waterman July 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    @Patrick Blackman!!!!! i Normally agree with MOST of your Comments, But!!!! Not this time, this story hit the Newspapers the Day those Pink slips were handed out, the Union did not just became active out of the Blue, they Challenged these Dismissals, with NO action from this Minister, whom i ASSUME is a Better Doctor than a Minister of Government. Even if the Union was only mouthing off in the Newspapers, don’t the Ministers Read the Papers ??
    She as Minister shoul not have waited for the Union to Come to Her, she has a Phone on her Desk, take it up, and call the Union President, and invite him to Chat over a Glass of Mauby or a Cup of Tea, like Friends, not Foes, Dialogue goes a long way in keeping problems at a sane level, but Governments once elected, becomes ARROGANT and Disrepectful to the same people who elected them, and this is the problem as we speak.
    this is simple to solve, ask the Court to determine, if by The Law as it is, if you can forcefully retire a worker at 60years, of if they MUST be allowed to work until the LEGAL Retirement age of 67.
    This is the time that a LEGAL ruling is Mandatory, because they are not the First in Barbados to be FORCEFULLY Retired for one reason or another. Commissioner Darwin Dottin was FORCEFULLY Retired ALSO, who will be NEXT, perhaps the PM is he not over 60 ?? if he is wher is his PINK Slip ??
    WE Need a SUPREME COURT Decision on the LEGALITY/ILLEGALITY of FORCED RETIREMENTS Before 67 Years of age.


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