Class war

BWU blasts Apes Hill over ‘mental and economic slavery’

A nasty war of wills with class and racial undertones has developed between the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and management of the Apes Hill Club, with the union accusing the St James luxury facility of engaging in “industrial terrorism” and practicing “mental and economic slavery” against workers.

These unionised workers have accused their management of treating them unfairly.
These unionised workers have accused their management of treating them unfairly.

In a strongly worded statement issued today, the BWU expressed “alarm and distress” at the Apes Hill Club’s management’s behaviour, charging that it was attempting to trample workers’ rights.

“The Executive Council of The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) is alarmed and distressed by the instance of disrespect and anti social behaviour demonstrated by one Barbadian of privilege against another of humble circumstances, when all that the poor worker was doing was insisting that his human and trade union’s rights should be exercised by him, without the industrial terrorism which the employers have been using to bring the Apes Hill workers under their brand of mental and economic slavery,” the statement began.

Apes Hill has insisted that it would not sit around the table with the BWU until the union has met its demand to complete a fresh vote to determine if it remained the legitimate representative bargaining unit for its employees.

The union has contended that it is the workers’ representative and has complained that the employer was “unbelievably unwilling” to grant it recognition, against the workers’ will.

It also accused the employers’ umbrella body, the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, of complicity with Apes Hill in its effort to prevent the union from resolving “several acts of unfairness and crude labour practices” which confront the workers.

“Regrettably, notwithstanding advice from the Labour Department to treat with the workers the employers’ umbrella body has been leading the anti union resistance.  And workers’ rights are being trampled into the dust,” the statement said.

The BWU also hinted strongly that the St James club, which describes itself as a world class golf and polo facility, was behind an incident in which a protesting worker was struck by a vehicle yesterday while on the picket line near the company. The worker was taken to hospital for treatment.

It said the grievances it listed in the statement could not explain why workers on a picket line in a strike “should initially have to scamper to safety or should have one of their numbers struck while he was on the picket line”.

The union said it would not seek to “fan the flames of this outrage” but warned Apes Hill, the Barbados Employers’ Confederation “and other employers who may share their backward thinking” that for Barbados’ 50th anniversary of independence next year to have full meaning, basic human rights had to be fully respected for everyone.

“Money and colour and class must not be the governing consideration: We are all equal in the eyes of God and before the law,” the statement concluded.

The two sides are scheduled to meet on Thursday, under the chairmanship of the Chief Labour Officer. However, even as they prepare for their first round of talks in four years, the BWU has not shied away from unleashing a bitter verbal attack on Apes Hill.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY before the release of the statement, the BWU’s Deputy General Secretary Dwaine Paul described the company’s behaviour as “appalling” and “stupid”, and accused it of deliberately stalling talks on longstanding issues affecting staff.

“It is really an appalling position that you would hold up the discussions. This whole process had been delayed by more than a year because of this whole position of management asking the Labour Department for an opinion, having the opinion and still have people not cooperating with stupid moves and trying to have another position for it,” Paul told Barbados TODAY.

After the management agreed last evening to meet with the union, the maintenance staff who had been on strike since last Friday to protest against the delay in talks, returned to their jobs.

Paul contended that there was no justification for the company to ask for a fresh recognition poll, because it had already acknowledged the union in 2011.

“We believe the underlying issue in this whole matter is that there seems to be a move afoot to introduce new elements into the industrial relations process that don’t exist [and] which are not supported by current practices.

“I believe there is also an attempt to force the administrators of the process into a position which is an unfortunate situation,” Paul said.

Management of the Apes Hill Club said in a statement yesterday – prior to agreeing to the meeting – that it required a fresh vote because the two sides have not held any substantive discussions in four years.

However, Paul said there was nothing that said there could not be breaks in bargaining.

“Any negotiations process has breaks for one reason or the next. There are a whole host of reasons why talks may not progress . . . you are essentially negotiating in an environment which is considered a growing concern,” he contended.

4 Responses to Class war

  1. jrsmith December 9, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    The Unions are living in cloud cookoo land, money , colour and class, must not be the governing consideration, we are all equal in the eyes of God and the law, you all keep thinking that way, you will never achieve anything. you all are believing , but you are all still loosing out, being treated like rubbish.

    The Apes Hill management, is behaving how the Barbados government ,behaved in past months and is treating the union workers ,as the government did as second class citizens.

    You union leaders , you need to forget the past rubbish history, you need to get the respect back, you need the voice of your unions, no one is going to put the rubbish right ,which is being dish out to bajans, you snooze you loose. Are going back 50 years, are we, don’t let this hit start.

  2. Colin Alleyne December 10, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Never mind the war of words, always know your numbers. Are the workers of Apes Hill paid or treated any differently or worse than others of their skill? Perhaps the Apes Hill Club is right in allowing the workers to choose their representation? It appears as though the BWU is afraid of loosing that representation and the money that goes with it. Lastly Apes Hill caters to wealthy foreign investment, so is it a good idea to pretend that it is otherwise. Is it a good time to be further reducing the financial input of one of these clubs.
    Gone are the days of “parade” and “fool strikes” it is time for workers and unions to seriously consider the nation and themselves in moving forward. It is time to make things right, to be just yet realistic.

  3. Menace II Babylon December 10, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Ignore jrs smith, please print BB I am not being inflammatory, racist, sexist or any of those vile things. as i would like to direct this reponse to JRssmith

    I have worked for the majority of my life in those institutions up and down the west coast as a trained Wine Semillon and for private functions. I have overheard some very ludicrous statements from some of the big and supposedly financial mighty till I had enough and walked off my job. They have no respect for Alkebulan people as you are ordained to be gardeners, maids, cooks and butlers. It says so right in their bible that we our not equal and that has been held from slavery till now.

    He is talking bout equal in the eyes of their Caucasian god and the hand me down laws. In every home, church, school and place of worship supremacy has been invoked. Have you never witnessed how the law operates in relation to color and class? It is unfortunate that I cannot afford a rocket ship to visit you on Pluto where everything is crisp and curry.

    Is the black man equal in the sight of their laws and who do they apply to? I will gladly give you examples where they are given fines and a slap on the wrist where when the table is turned it is incarceration. Everyday we loose people due to police brutality and unprovoked murders by officers of the law worldwide and who is the target. Be a bit more analytical….

    We have a predominately racist culture that permeates Barbados and other CARICOM islands where white is right and that old colonial legacy holds true especially in my land with Lord Nelson in our town (shame) . This has manifested and been handed down from generation to generation. Listen workers, you fight for your rights, you fight to allow the union in there (there is always a reason to not allow the union in so they can do as they like) , you fight for better pay, you fight and you keep fighting and then you fight some more. Do not urinate on the graves of my ancestors, what they stood for and what their beliefs were at the given time and i can assure it was based on seeking better treatment not even equality. They fought too or maybe you never realize. Go Newton slave burial ground. And use the almighty www and research why some of them are buried up there. You’d be surprised. For such a trival thing they were killed will be your first remark and if you have any ounce of decency maybe the skill of empathy will be awakened. You know why they are out there?

    I will gladly provide examples, some personal without calling names on what occurs in these establishments. We are second class citizens in our own land. Don’t you dare criticize my people for standing their ground. These fields and hills were never ours. They are leased. I hope you answer let me enlighten you on the equality of being equal under their god and their laws. Do you think it is all about color and class? We will never achieve anything if we harbor your conformist mentality, we aint slaves no more, and PS – we can vote, we can walk the street, we can go into any bar or restaurant without being lynched or quartered, we can worship we can do a lot through fighting whether using violent or non violent for an ideology of freedom and equality.

    You a joker where the rest of the pack?

  4. Menace II Babylon December 10, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Past rubbish history? Well I never…..


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