National shutdown as early as Wednesday

Travel in and out of Barbados could be affected tomorrow, as this island’s two leading trade unions prepare for a national shutdown as early as Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters at the end of a standing-room-only meeting of members at the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) this evening, the top spokeswoman for the NUPW warned that pending final agreement with the Barbados Workers Union on a date this week for the escalated action, workers at the Customs & Excise Department, who are already on a go-slow, “will be going slower until the date is announced”.

However, Roslyn Smith made it clear that both unions were committed to staging the shutdown.

NUPW acting general secretary Roslyn Smith
NUPW acting general secretary Roslyn Smith

“Phase three of the action is expected to take place shortly. We are awaiting word from our sister union, the Barbados Workers Union, because they are meeting with their workers at 5 p.m. and we are awaiting the date, whether it’ll be Wednesday or Thursday for the total shutdown,” said Smith.

She further warned that “immigration is onboard, so you can see some activity at the airport as well as the sea port”.

These workers are expected to join their unionized colleagues at the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA), who went on strike last week, refusing to collect garbage or to dig graves at state-owned cemeteries across the country.

The action comes at the height of an impasse with the Government over the recent termination of 10 workers, over the age of 60, at the state-run Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).

The NUPW has been demanding that Government withdraws these letters of termination or agrees to pay the affected workers until age 67. However, the Freundel Stuart administration has maintained that it acted within the law and is therefore not prepare to rescind the dismissals.

However, while insisting that the issue was not only one of age discrimination, Smith accused the Government of showing “disrespect” to workers at the Customs department, who are due to step up their protests from tomorrow.

She revealed that some Customs workers, who have been dead set against moves by the Government to merge their operations into the umbrella Barbados Revenue Authority, were issued with  option forms today, despite the fact that management had promised to await word from the union before doing so.

“As a result of that, the Customs will be coming onboard, along with the Sanitation Services Authority and the Immigration Department. We are saying again, ‘enough is enough’ and we will not stand for this ongoing slide of disrespect for us.

“After we receive word later tonight [on the outcome of the BWU talks] . . . we will issue a joint communique on the action to be taken.

However, she stressed, “we are not retreating unless we get the letters for those 10 workers withdrawn”.

Smith also defended the recent strike by the SSA workers, saying it was not only in support of their BIDC counterparts. She said they had concerns of their own which they wanted the Government to address.

“We have written the management seeking a meeting by the 15th of this month on matters that are of concern to the SSA,” said the NUPW spokeswoman, while noting that in light of the strike “you have persons collecting the garbage with their bare hands” without getting the necessary health checks.

Expressing strong disgust over the situation, the union official said the lives of these individuals were being put at risk.

The NUPW top executive also said that while the SSA management was complaining it had no money to repair SSA trucks that have been taken off the road, it has been  able to pay private truckers as much as $200 a day to collect the refuse.

“So we are saying the workers are not paid, then you will see another side of the action. You cannot be saying on one hand you don’t have money to supply the equipment and the proper gloves to the SSA workers and you are going to spend money, not only on the trucks that you have here, but you have big tractors with $2,500 a week or something like that. So that is an insult to injury.”

Smith explained that the union was not against non-SSA truckers volunteering to collect the garbage, but she insisted they should not to be paid to do so.

“. . . when you are paying private sector persons $200 a day, I think that is an insult to the workers at the SSA. You have the trucks because one minute you send them to Transtech by the time they come back they are not working. I have a difficulty with that,” Smith stressed.

The union boss said when the BIDC impasse was resolved, the NUPW will turn its attention to the SSA.

14 Responses to National shutdown as early as Wednesday

  1. Sharon Woolley
    Sharon Woolley July 14, 2015 at 2:54 am

    This woman always looks like she is sucking a lemon !!

    • Charlie Terrico Black
      Charlie Terrico Black July 14, 2015 at 3:05 am


    • Harry turnover July 14, 2015 at 8:03 am

      ….and what is your reason for getting personal ? if you get to her age someone might just tell you that you look that way because you were horned by a man in your younger days.who was not only sucking lemons but eating ripe plantains as well.

  2. Colin A Alexander
    Colin A Alexander July 14, 2015 at 3:17 am

    Only a lemon…….

  3. carson c cadogan July 14, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Now we will see what we will see. These Barbados Labour Party manipulated Unions have lost all sense of direction. They are playing with fire and will get burned. The state will not stand idly by as Barbados is destroyed by a bunch of bullies with nothing more than a partisan political agenda hatched in Roebuck Street.

    The double whammy woman. She looks foolish and sounds foolish.

  4. Harry turnover July 14, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Yardfowls a plenty I must say. The PM says that the Courts have the leeway to solve this issue once and for all.

    The PM also said that those resignation letters will be rescinded

    When the ten get them,all industrial action will cease.

    Yardfowls are telling themselves that it was the BLP who retired those workers at 60 and that it was hatched in Roebuck Street.

    Yardfowls are now getting personal with the same woman who stood side by side ( when noise was only talk) with now retired NUPW leaders whose political affiliations were well known.

  5. Lica July 14, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Went the Dems was Running the Union going to Bed with the Government from 2008 n selling the worker it was all Right
    with u guy! If it was the Blp wuhnna will be here cursing dem
    give jack is jacket! Some of u that talking Crack might not even
    be a Government Employees, u don’t know how de ppl feel!
    We’ll dispite how she look she is a very Educated person!
    That Y the Dlp going to make all of us suffer ! Y they family
    living happy n Comfortable n paying the Maid to Slave
    we finding it Hard!!

    • Harry turnover July 14, 2015 at 8:12 am

      @ Lica…well said !…today it might be the Government ..tomorrow it WILL be the Private Sector.

      You know what the Private sector would say..”.if they set the precedent we gine follow it”….just like the lay offs .and maybe those same people and their off spring might be affected… know what they would say then…”.man there is nothing wrong with that”…..and then again thats’ what yardfowls are for.

  6. Lica July 14, 2015 at 8:19 am

    That Transtech thing is what the Opposition Leader was
    Asking in her Budget Speech Reply! We’ll she can’t be wrong
    cause the worker told the union the same thing!
    Then de foolish ppl getting n bashing the union n worker
    n the Dlp Administration pocket full n there Associated
    getting Rich n we have to pay all de Taxes n getting Poor
    u all need to stand up in Solidarity!

  7. carson c cadogan July 14, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Read and weep,”The Mr. ”Know All” , David, of Barbados Underground sees the P.M”s reference to
    Section 48: Powers and Procedure of Parliament [Power to makes Laws] as an empty threat., However he doesn’t think that Mac-Do-All’s threat to shut down the island is and empty threat. Well Mr. Prime Minister, I believe you excelled in Modern Studies but those of us who did physics at school know that Newton’s
    Third Law of Motion states ”For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.We urgently need the legislation to control these modern day ”Çhoke and rob” trade unionists”; Yes they are no different from ”paros” who encourage their friends to do wrong and when they are caught, tell them that they don’t have money to give them (akin to BWU telling members don’t come to them for money because they don’t have funds ) or akin to the NUPW giving them split peas , salt meat and toilet paper substituting for a ”spliff””

  8. carson c cadogan July 14, 2015 at 11:19 am

    It is now clear to all in Barbados why the old guard at the NUPW always kept this double whammy woman in the background.

    They knew then what we know now, she is not the sharpest tool in the shed. By keeping her in the background they were in essence protecting her from herself.

  9. lswiltshire July 14, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    poor carson

  10. Kim July 14, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Private sector way ahead! How many ppl on the bread line when RBC outsource so many jobs. Yet more jobs to TNT workers were given. Scotia restructure is the biggest kept secret in BIM. I’m all for the cause. Throughout history change is only made when the people speak out. Buses didn’t back down, neither did Clement Payne. Educate! agitate! But do not violate! I’m not apart of any one particular party Blp, Dlp, pep. I’m for the people. And its time we put aside the talk and show the world that Barbadians do know how yo stand together. I also agree with Indra Weir’s Comments on the PMs response. How could he(Stuart) stand and insult the youth of this country who has to take up the mantle. Despite what his personal beliefs about how”fair and just” their presiding is. Today for me and tomorrow for you. The young ppl are getting ready to take over. And Mr. McDowall maintain your dignity and never sell your soul. Fight for a cause. There must be more heros and heroines amongst us.

  11. Kim July 14, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Carson. That statement is low band uncalled for. Making a mockery of people’s livelihood


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