Vaswani advises against asking for pay increase


One of the island’s private sector grouping is expressing thanks to trade unions for not asking Government for a pay increase for workers this year and cautioned against doing so any time soon.

President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Lalu Vaswani, told Barbados TODAY now was not the time for trade unions to put pressure on government in the face of the ongoing economic crisis. He also called on employees to continue to make sacrifices as the island sought to emerge from the economic slumps.

“Companies as well as employees have sacrificed a lot but our period for sacrifice is not over. We need to continue to maintain our sacrifice so that the level of employment remains what it is or improves,” said Vaswani.

“I must thank the [trade] unions and remind them to continue their sacrifice and maturity, and avoid seeking to press for [pay] increases at a time where it is blatantly obvious that the circumstances in which businesses have to operate are more dire than the year that has just ended,” said Vaswani.

He said a concerted effort was needed by all stakeholders to arrest the fiscal challenges and bring about growth in the economy.

“So let us fight together on the same side. Let us fight the economic challenges but not each other. Let us work together like five fingers, each one uniquely different in its own, but each one coming together as one hand to working concertedly for the national goal of economic recovery,” added Vaswani.

Saying that the island was in need of investments, Vaswani said Government agencies needed to do more than before by identifying how they could expedite processes that would lead to swifter clarifications of submissions and approvals.

“Our foreign direct investments has fallen significantly. We need to get it up and we don’t get it up by putting on a switch, we get it up by leading by example,” he said.

Vaswani lauded the Government for “the swiftness with which a recent project in the tourism sector was expedited and that illustrates the capacity to do what it takes in the given circumstances”.

He said, however, “there are many other situations that have been pending far too long that we wish them to come forward and bring these to a conclusion so that businesses can proceed to make their investment decisions”. (MM) 

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