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Off the job

JADA workers stage five-hour strike

The industrial relations climate at JADA Group remains unstable following a five-hour work stoppage Thursday over pay and conditions of work.

Employees at four locations who had downed their tools returned to work around 2 p.m. after a meeting with their representative, the Barbados Workers Union (BWU). However, the threat of strike continues to hang over the company as workers press for better pay.

Whether or not the protest would continue “depends on the contents of the letter that the union rep is bringing to us. Then we will decide what action to take,” shop steward Tyrone Edwards told Barbados TODAY before the protest had ended.

The two sides are far apart on the wages issue, with the BWU demanding a 20 per cent rise, while the company is offering no more than 2.5 per cent over a three-year period, according to a letter from JADA Group to the BWU, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY.

In the letter, signed by Paul Lewis of JADA Builders Inc and addressed to the union’s general secretary but sent to the attention of Juliet Pollard, the company said it was willing to compromise on some aspects of its proposal, although it was sticking to its offer of a 1.5 per cent increase in year one for A-class carpenters, masons and general workers.

“I reiterate that offer forms part of our proposals in response to your initial request for a 20 per cent hike in wages. Our remaining wages counter offer was for a one per cent increase in year one and 0.5 per cent in year two and again 0.5 in year three. We now confirm our willingness to increase to one per cent our offer above for year three,” the letter said.

It was an unsatisfactory meeting with management yesterday on wages and work boots that led workers at Leigh House, a private residence at Sandy Lane, St James; Beachlands in Sunset Crest, St James; Blue Lagoon at The Garden in the same parish, and Spring Hall in St Lucy to take industrial action, the employees said.

When Barbados TODAY visited three of the four locations today, some workers openly vented their frustrations over the matter.

“We are looking for an increase in pay. There was a meeting yesterday and what they are proposing to pay the men, the union doesn’t agree with it. This negotiation was supposed to go on now for over six years. We haven’t gotten an increase in over six years. So that’s one of the reasons we are doing this here [striking]. And for better conditions as well.

“They want to give you job work but when they give you job work you can’t make a proper days pay. So all of that is issues that we have to deal with,” the frustrated worker said.

In Paul’s letter to the BWU, he expressed regret over the manner in which yesterday’s discussions ended and requested a meeting on November 8 or 9 to “clarify in writing their position regarding our initial offer as well as counter offer”, based on correspondence from the union and meetings on held on September 13 and yesterday.

“Notwithstanding the aforementioned which speaks to wages and our clarification thereof regarding our offer and counter, we are confident that we can satisfactorily agree a final mutually acceptable wages agreement upon our recommencement of talks on November 8th. Furthermore we would be happy to address all remaining concerns and proposals [we] have at that time and to mutual satisfaction,” the letter stated.

Attempts to get comments from the BWU and JADA Group were unsuccessful up until the time of publication.

11 Responses to Off the job

  1. Petal Ifill
    Petal Ifill October 21, 2016 at 2:04 am

    True

    Reply
  2. Wendy Clarke
    Wendy Clarke October 21, 2016 at 4:26 am

    I support

    Reply
  3. Realist October 21, 2016 at 4:59 am

    I am behind these workers 100 percent. I know for a fact that these men are paid $100 or less a day ( $500 or less per week). I always wonder how big men can take home that kind of money to support a family. I would not even try to break it down but I know that they are certain fundamental things that they cannot do adequately, like:
    1) support children;
    2) support wife;
    3) eat proper food ( most of these families eating 123 – macaroni, Irish potatoes and corn beef or worse);
    4) wear decent clothes and buy work boots for $300 and more;
    5) pay utilities
    6) have a doctor fee for children, wife and self
    7) wholesome socialization outside of a rum bottle and the list can go on.

    JADA and all of these other construction groups are ripping the MAN out of the men in Barbados, turning them into little boys. Boys that are always dependent on a woman to supplement they pay; boys that cannot leave they parents’ homes and boys that cannot maintain a decent relationship with a women.

    A Polo donkey is worth more than a man in JADA’s books because they pay more for a bag a feed for a polo pony than what they pay a man per day for honest work. This government sits idly by and allow these inhumane conditions to be festered in the construction industry – the 21st century form of slavery, just enough money to return to work and eat 123. When the Barbadian workers rebel, the Guyanese, Lucians, Vincentians, Jamaicans and all kinds of foreigners are brought in as the indentured servants and the process continues. Where is IMMIGRATION in all of this. What do these white folks write on the application forms for immigration that allow they to get away with this exploitation of locals and foreigners?

    Reply
  4. seagul October 21, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Where is your courage Barbados–why are we not supporting our people under attack from the enforcers of slave labour. So are we to cower and accept this blatant exploitation–no voice or backbone, Wake up and uprise for Barrow’s Soul.

    Reply
  5. Realist October 21, 2016 at 5:20 am

    1.5 percent increase is taking the pay from $98 to $100. They are insisting that you ain’t getting more than $100. Just imagine that these men are building Barbados but still find themselves in squalor. Yet we are celebrating 50 years.

    50 YEARS OF WHAT?

    Hardship? Inequality? Injustice?

    Reply
  6. seagul October 21, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Why are there no decent and sensible politicians who are more concerned with the economic and social upliftment of the country and who will work for justice and equality? All the candidates are just corporate perpetrators who work only for the interest of U.K and U.S lobbies. After all this time, it is incredible that there is not such a body of folk who can lead with a morality that the region needs after all the struggle we have endured.

    Reply
  7. Greengiant October 21, 2016 at 8:00 am

    These white project managers were cutting these workers’ pay for years.

    There was even one case of which I am aware that a P M used project money to pay a sub Guyanese and Jamaican sub contractor to build his house in Graham Hall Ch Ch. This PM was managing the biggest project at the time and he was cutting workmen job work money to pay the two sub contractors.

    I still have the evidence, he made me redundant when he realized I was onto his dishonesty, and he was allowed to do it too. There are however some decent senior staff there who will pay for work once it’s done properly. These PM’s need to grow up and stop blaming Mr. T for their dirty deeds.

    Reply
  8. Mac October 21, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Unity

    Reply
  9. Realist October 21, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Sorry people…I wrote my entry quickly so there are some typos: “they” in some places instead of ‘their” but I’m human and passionate at the same time. The essence of it is the message.

    Reply
  10. Donild Trimp October 21, 2016 at 10:00 am

    $98 a day for construction workers? Please say this is not true?

    Who in their right mind can expect any worker with a mortgage and family to support in Barbados to survive on $98 a day?

    Modern day slavery still exist in Barbados.

    Reply
  11. seagul October 21, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Right now I don’t see nothing being done by these predominantly black parliamentarians and ministers of Government who is granting amazingly preferential taxpayer-funded or guaranteed contracts to elite white Barbadian and foreign business people, Seen.–– contracts that they would never confer upon black Barbadian business people. Where are the voices now of the usual lackey bunch who are always finding time to comment on useless issues. Let’s see– The so-called take or pay contract the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration granted to Sustainable (Barbados) Recycling Centre Inc. Another such contract is the 2013 so-called storage tank lease contract entered into by our Government with Storage Solutions Limited. Yet another such contract is the so-called housing construction contract entered into between this current DLP administration and the corporate entity known as Housing Concepts SRL.It seems our public purse, the hard-working black laborer and consumer class is treated as anybody’s cash cow! This smells nothing short of a Revolution.There is no greater disaster than to underestimate danger. Underestimation can be fatal. These corporate vampires that acquires and harvest the wealth of our world suppressing real assets like our labour to provide themselves with massive profits.And today you can’t get along with your African brother because he speaks Spanish. You can’t get along with your African brother because he speaks French. So you have allowed, we have allowed, the enemy to divide us with their hatreds and their hatreds are in their culture. Their hatreds are in their history, their hatreds are in their educations. White wigs are on judges but whose system of justice and education is represented—and is it independent or subjected to the political and religious education of the cultural norms of the former colonial slave masters? So you are independent but still tied, the umbilical cord. When food production is in the hands of vultures, health is in the hands of someone else, leading to diseases like diabetes, and subsequent amputations. There are fast food outlets but you don’t know what the food is and where it comes from. This was meant to be short but right now we need unity or everybody’s children shall feel the wrath and destruction on that tiny isle of ours.

    Reply

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