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No change

Still no settlement to Apes Hill controversy

There is still no settlement to the Apes Hill impasse.

However, management of the St James  luxury facility and representatives of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) actually sat down at the bargaining table for an hour and a half of talks this morning, following a four-year break in negotiations, and a recent escalation of their industrial impasse.

Earlier this week, as the tensions reached boiling point, the BWU issued a strong statement accusing the company of engaging in “industrial terrorism” and practising “mental and economic slavery” against workers.

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

In an equally strong response, Apes Hill developer Sir Charles Williams hit back yesterday at the union and its members, who have been refusing to work since last Friday.

He told Barbados TODAY he was now at the point of total frustration.

In fact, he threatened to shut down the entire Apes Hill project and send home all 400 employees, while complaining bitterly about ingrates and laggards.

Sir Charles Williams

Sir Charles Williams

“They were working . . . they came to work for us as slavery. We have given them the opportunity to go through apprenticeship, to improve their position in life,” he insisted.

However, following today’s talks chaired by Chief Labour Officer Vincent Burnett, outstanding issues of pay and conditions of employment remained unresolved.

What the two sides did agree on though, was to meet again to try to settle the differences, which sparked a three-day work stoppage by more than 40 maintenance staff.

Executive Director of the Barbados Employers Confederation Tony Walcott represented the company at today’s talks, described by Deputy General Secretary of the BWU Dwaine Paul as “cordial”.

“We have reviewed the matter and we are going to continue discussions towards concluding the outstanding issues between the parties,” Paul said.

Asked if any progress was made in resolving the issue of BWU recognition, Paul replied: “The meeting did not go that far.

“The meeting today was, as I said, for us to determine a way forward; that has been agreed upon and we will be meeting very shortly to continue discussions on the outstanding matters.”

He could not give a precise date for the next round of talks, but suggested they would occur “between now and next week”.

5 Responses to No change

  1. Sue Donym December 11, 2015 at 2:02 am

    The B’dos Employers’ Confederation is said to have ‘represented the company’. Why is there a problem with the union representing employees?

    Does the company have evidence of the particular union being disruptive or operating contrary to agreed procedures? Is anyone attempting to obtain sensitive information that would put either side at risk?

    Can the real issues be filtered from the fluff or is it a personality battle. If there is appropriate documentation of failure to perform job functions, slackers should go and unions should not be encouraged to use job security as a condition of going forward. If the company has kept workers at unreasonable levels of pay to broker a numbers agreement, it’s time to end that too.

    Each side needs to be realistic and work on a sustainable formula for the future.

  2. Alex Alleyne December 11, 2015 at 10:51 am

    He will win or he will put half the country out of work.
    This situation here is not where a union and opposition party having Government up against the wall.
    A lot of people say they need work until they get a job.

  3. Anthony Old December 11, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I am sure perfection doesn’t exist on either side but there is a large investment involved which has clearly created huge employment and ultimately people maketh the company so why not reward and promote people or not based on customer feedback from within the development community. Hope it gets resolved before the obvious detrimental end and subsequent deterrent from any future outside investment

  4. Anti-Alex Alleynr December 12, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Wow one man has he ability to put half a country out of work? Now that sounds like a need fo a Union to me.


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