Broken trust


Political scientist Peter Wickham has led a strident attack on the trade unions here, accusing them of committing the “unforgivable sin” of abandoning their membership in difficult times.

Addressing the 42nd annual general conference of the Barbados Union of Teachers at Almond Bay Conference Centre last night, Wickham contended that there had been a breakdown of trust between the unions and workers.

And he pointed an accusing finger at the movement, which he said had lost focus in its attempt to be politically and socially conscientious, and  no longer rushed to workers’ defence.

His comments came about a week after industrial action rocked the island affecting business at the two main ports of entry.

“Sadly, in many of your efforts to remain politically and socially responsible, you have abandoned your members at a time when they need you most and this to me is an unforgiveable sin,” said Wickham.

“There are, of course, others who can and will forgive you but you have to work to regain their trust. I think that this is an effort where you would need to recommit yourselves to in years to come, that is if trade unionism in Barbados is to recover from this low point,” he said.

Speaking on the topic, Mobilizing Young Workers: Key to the Future of Trade Unions, the political scientist warned that the issue of trust would be the greatest challenge facing the trade union movement.

He urged union leaders to move swiftly to put out every industrial relation fire that they faced from now on because “you are being judged and watched by members and potential members”.

Wickham added that in order for the workers’ representatives to remain relevant they needed to identify constructive issues on which to engage
the members.

The Director of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) also spoke of a breakdown of trust between Government and the general population, arguing that the situation
had deteriorated gravely over the past three years.

“Nowhere that I have worked have I seen the breakdown of trust between the Government and the people, that I have seen here in Barbados.

“If you understand the nature of the problem that we have in Barbados then you would also understand the extent to which it would impact on all of us especially those of you in the trade union movement,” he maintained.

He argued that in the past Barbados had among the best run governments in the English speaking Caribbean, mainly because of the “unusually high level of trust” that existed between the governed and the various administrations.

“[However], I am sure very few would deny that this is no longer the case and moreover very few of you would deny the rapidity to which this change has taken place also reflects the extent to which the relationship of trust has been fractured,” Wickham said. (DB)

9 Responses to Broken trust

  1. Tony Webster April 6, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Union Leaders should not pitch marbles with employers; their “vision”, and their loyalty, should not be opaque. Where there is no vision, credibility perishes.

  2. Inkwell April 6, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Attaboy, Peter. Way to go. Jab them and goad them into helping you bring down the government. They might even fall for it. Good plan.

    • Ainslejoe April 6, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Where were you in 1986? Remember how Bree (Sir Harold) lost the General Elections then?

  3. dave April 6, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Who to blame ? Sir Leroy and Dennis Clarke ????

  4. seagul April 6, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Peter quips, Peter slips and flips, to all who is wiling to pay especially in U.S trips. It’s not rocket science to grasp his obvious rhetoric.

  5. dave April 6, 2016 at 9:36 am

    There is a culture of fear in the workplace and this has become evident with the increase of females in the workplace. Generally speaking , they are afraid of most things and they bring this fear into the workplace. Where men are bold and adventurous , females tend to cower and give in. This is helping to shape reaction in the workplace. Some workers therefore may join a Union but sit back expecting somebody else to solve the problems and deal with the issues. Men need to take the lead and come to the party in terms of leadership because they tend to show a more reasonable approach in handling such matters.

  6. Donna Harewood April 6, 2016 at 9:39 am

    In this Peter is right. I helped to vote them in and I no longer trust them to do what’s right or sensible with an attitude of respect for the people. We the people are not perfect. None of us is perfect. No government has ever been perfect. But the attitude of this government is intolerable. They act as rulers rather than servants. They ridicule our concerns. They treat us as feudal subjects who must put up and shut up. Then they talk about getting their PR wrong. PR is just an attempt to fool the people. Bad PR allowed us to see who you really have become. Hear me say this now – after thirty-four year of getting my vote you have lost it! Think about that!

  7. Donna Harewood April 6, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Crap, Dave! Where I worked the men were silent and the women like me stood up! You must stop generalizing! Suppose I generalize by saying that the women are afraid because they are the ones supporting the children? How about that?

  8. Sherlock Holmes. April 6, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    The two poll man is at ti again, you see Peter Wickham,everyone by now knows your agenda,you have not gotten over the fact that your second poll caused the BLP the last election and from that time until present you have been blaming everyone except your self,you are constantly ranting about the Prime Minister and vote buying,your second poll was the cause of the BLP’S defeat, accept it.Here is some news for you,the more you do things like this the more people see you exactly for what you are and you are doing more harm to the party that you now rant for than good your words have no credibility you are no longer trusted period.


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