Apes Hill conciliation talks set for Thursday

There appears to be a fresh move afoot to resolve the industrial impasse between management of the plush Apes Hill Club in St James and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU).

Barbados TODAY understands that the two sides agreed tonight to meet on Thursday morning to try to end their dispute over conditions of work, including equipment and pay.

Over 40 maintenance workers at the company, which operates a golf course and luxury villas, have been off the job for the past three days protesting management’s failure to meet with their bargaining agent.

When the staff downed tools last Friday, they were ordered off the compound and the police summoned.

Today they were back on the picket line carrying placards, in a bid to get management’s attention, amid continued tensions between the two sides.

Deputy General Secretary Dwaine Paul had earlier threatened an escalation of the industrial action involving as many other divisions of the BWU as necessary, if the company continued to make itself unavailable for fresh negotiations.

Deputy General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union Dwaine Paul.
Deputy General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union Dwaine Paul.

In a statement issued today, management of the Apes Hill Club insisted that the union must show proof that it is the legitimate representative of the workers before they would be willing to sit down at the bargaining table.

“The originally agreed bargaining unit was recognized in 2011, but no substantive discussions have taken place since that date. There has been a hiatus for the past four years and therefore it is necessary for a new poll to be taken to determine representation. This poll has not yet been conducted by the Labour Department,” the company contended.

In the meantime, management of Apes Hill said it would continue to have dialogue with its entire staff.

The BWU has said it has been trying to resolve a number of outstanding matters for the past nine years.

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