G4S employees asked to gather for meeting at BWU tomorrow

Workers employed by the security firm, G4S Limited, will be off the job tomorrow evening. That is because their bargaining agent, the Barbados Workers Union, has summoned them to a general meeting at its headquarters, Solidarity House, to deal with a number of outstanding issues, currently causing a break down in relations with the company.

Just last week, BWU General-Secretary, Sir Roy Trotman, warned the security firm of possible industrial action over what he said was discrimination against the president of the union division, as well as the need for a pension plan and decent wages.

Today, Sir Roy explained that the outstanding issues were the subject of correspondence between the two sides. He said he wanted all employees at all levels of the company to attend the discussions, which he would address.

The union boss said that despite a series of meetings with management, there had been no improvement in the situation. He has suggested a stronger approach was needed, besides holding meetings with the firm.

Sir Roy also insisted that while he would be asking the chief labour officer to intervene in the issue, where G4S was allegedly breaching international labour convention regulations of freedom of association, he was hoping for a resolution with respect to the money aspect, without involving the labour department.

He said he had met recently with a senior representative of the G4S international body to discuss the state of affairs at the local firm. He noted that what emerged was that the Barbadian entity had fallen down on its hitherto acceptable reputation as a leader in decent work practices. The veteran trade unionist explained that the meeting with international body looked at the deteriorating relations between the BWU and G4S.

Sir Roy expressed dissatisfaction at a letter sent to him by the security company, which suggested that it was no longer recognising the president of the union division. Sir Roy said the union wanted a retraction of what he called, that abominable letter.

He insisted that G4S was not in a position to determine who the BWU chose to represent it. The BWU boss disclosed that he now also had to write to the General Manager of the Financial Services Commission regarding the firm’s remuneration practices, where security guards had to work very long hours in order to receive a decent wage.

He has called on the Government to put strict regulations in place to address decent work for security guards. Sir Roy noted that the management had not replied to a letter it wrote calling for a meeting.†(EJ)†

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