What a travesty, says Jones
That’s how Minister of Education Ronald Jones has described the National Union of Public Workers’ handling of its recent impasse with Government over forced retirements at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).
In his first public comment on the issue, Jones posted on Barbados TODAY’s Facebook page, saying “too many errors had been committed” during the process.
His comments were triggered by statements from NUPW president Akanni McDowall.
McDowall had earlier expressed his disappointment with Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer, who had accused his union of acting in bad faith and of treating her office with scant respect during the ongoing impasse.
However, Jones chastised McDowall for not being open to negotiations throughout the dispute.
“This is a travesty. The president is revealing therefore that his understanding of the proposals was clouded. He needs to outline a set of proposals and send them to the Minister. She can then seek to mediate to bring the parties closer together so a negotiated settlement can be reached. Too many errors have been created in this impasse,” Jones said.
“The president did indicate quite early that his position would remain the same discussion or no discussion. What a lovely way to arrive at an agreement.”
Jones also contended that while the union’s role should always be to “find an agreement in good faith,” political interference had complicated the issues at hand.
“The very rapid politicizing of the industrial relations process has led to the rigidities which now befall the entire Social Partnership [between Government, the unions and employers] and industrial relations agenda. A union seeks to find an agreement in good faith as a means of ameliorating the burdens on its members.
“No number of excuses can be proffered for the current state of industrial relations. Stop complaining and get back to the negotiation tables,” he instructed.