Trade unions in Barbados are continually “pounded and hammered” as they seek to deal with matters that reflect increasing disregard for their work and the people their represent.
President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU), Mary Redman voiced this concern yesterday at the 74th Annual Delegates Conference of the Barbados Workers Union.
The outspoken trade unionist bemoaned the fact that this type of “anti-worker behaviour” was coming from persons and institutions that should know better.
Redman charged that this type of behaviour was reflective of “narrow self-interest and too often purely political mileage, all aimed at ship wrecking the work of trade unions and the industrial relations process in the country.”
“In recent times when workers and their agents face some of the greatest challenges and need the assurance that their attempts at co-operation and good faith for the greater good of the country are understood and appreciated, there have been too often attempts to crush and to batter the unions against the proverbial rocks,” she said.
“We have been fighting against attitudes which demonstrate less and less willingness towards consultation with unions. This has been coupled with more unilateral action against the well being of workers. We see this in the gross disrespect demonstrated in ignored correspondence from us; refusals to meet and dialogue and detrimental unilateral actions taken on the part of employers against workers. We have seen bad faith demonstrated at unprecedented levels in the country and this must stop,” Redman insisted.
She pointed out that trade unions had been disrespected in matters relating to the Transport Board workers, Barbados Light and Power workers, National Conservation Commission workers and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.
Redman said unions were now operating in environments where persons who should know better refused to adhere to the basic philosophy and principles of the social partnership as outlined in the various protocols.
She argued that in such a climate, Government should continue its overtures to ensure that the BWU was once again firmly ensconced in the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) and the Social Partnership.
“This is necessary to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the ideals and tenets of a true and authentic Social Partnership. We cannot have the largest labour union and the only one representing private sector workers in this country excluded from that partnership. In my opinion to do so is to make a mockery of the very concept.” (NC)
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