Union’s vow

NUPW willing to strike to improve productivity

The country’s largest public sector labour union is prepared to call out its members on strike if that is what it takes to improve productivity, a senior official of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has said.

In taking a non-conventional look at the issue, the NUPW pledged to do its part to increase productivity in the workplace.

However, General Secretary Roslyn Smith said it would not be done at the expense of workers’ rights.

“As the largest public sector union, the National Union of Public Workers supports any effort which is aimed at increasing productivity. But oftentimes individuals within Government departments and offices which are run like statutory boards often come to loggerheads over the means used to reach a utopia based on increased productivity. Our goals remain the same but methods used to reach these goals lead to conflict, long and sometimes torturous meetings without resolve, go-slows and strike action,” Smith told the opening of a one-day workshop on productivity for small and micro enterprises at the Accra Beach Hotel.

“Sometimes strike action works, as seen recently when the NUPW was able to gain a nice Christmas gift of seven per cent for workers at the Grantley Adams International Airport. Nonetheless, things like go-slow and strike actions should really be used lightly and sparingly. They should be seen as last resort when bringing these issues of aggrieved workers to the light, especially when legislation and the Social Partnership agreement stand as paramount documents on the principles of good faith and best practices.”

The union leader said concerns about productivity were not exclusive to businesses, government, agencies and trade unions, but to workers as well, who often faced hurdles such as poor working environments, increased cost of living and a lack of respect from senior staff.

Today’s workshop, organized by the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC) in association with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Caribbean Employers Confederation, had as its theme Understanding Issues of Productivity and Exploring Ways of Improving.

Describing the event as timely and necessary, Smith said increased productivity continued to be a goal being chased and “in most instances appears to be out of the reaches of employers.” She added that Government had “sought to introduce mechanisms aimed at increasing productivity with limited resources”.

Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo said several public and private sector programmes had been introduced over the years to help increase productivity.

However, she said it was time for the blame game to end and for everyone to take responsibility, adding there was “a critical need for us to revisit and have a strategic dialogue by the stakeholders and social partners on this whole subject of labour productivity”.

Byer-Suckoo said like Government and the private sector, employees and their representative organizations must play their part.

“We also need our trade unions in that charge of changing mindsets. Yes, you are needed to ensure workers’ rights, and yes, you did say Madam General Secretary that in that regard that strike action sometimes help, but you must also help to devise the productivity measures as ultimately that helps us all – workers and employers – in this nation. So strike action may get you your wage increases for workers, but then is there any guarantee of improved productivity from these workers?” the minister said.

10 Responses to Union’s vow

  1. Anonymous0260 January 14, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Privatisation is the answer. It is going to be a difficult process, but in the long run it is going to be best for the overall country. Mangers and up need to be held more accountable than others. Performance appraisals would be implemented. Real goals set for staff, clear guidelines put in place and system of monitoring. Finally in such a system non-performers would be disciplined or dismissed. What can also happen is you give real rewards to your loyal staff. With a good management team you do not need unions. Also educate staff about their rights and HR about not trampling on the rights of employees. Better still teach staff about respect each other. We have a lot of work to do in Barbados

  2. Alex Alleyne January 14, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Strike, is your middle name.

  3. Tony Webster January 14, 2017 at 9:07 am

    @Annonymous0260: on target! Indeed, it is not just that a whole lot of heavy-lifting is required of whomsoever is command of S.S. Barbados on the next “voyage”… It is something much, much more challenging: changing attitudes. Make that, changing attitudes long-ingrained by patronizing, self-serving politicians who have now created a shallow-but-popular “gravy today and jam tomorrow” socialistic “normality”, which is going to be a lot more difficult to excise, than it was to instill.

    Yes, one path would be privatization, by way of PUBLICLY owned corporations in which we all could take shares, but as our local B.S.E. has lost almost all of its luster, this will be a hard sell, both in actuality, and in political terms. And we have little time remaining to create the New Socio-Political-Economic Reality.

  4. RHBB January 14, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Call a strike in order to improve productivity! Hmmm. Somehow I don’t follow the logic 🙂

  5. Kevin January 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Strike to improve productivity? The irony of that statement is mind-boggling.

    • Sherlock Holmes. January 14, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      I said the same thing ,but what do you expect from these people reminds of a statement Donald Trump made about someone being a head clown, i laughed then and i am laughing now but louder.

  6. Hal Austin January 14, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    What do they jokers mean by productivity? This is not their call. Trade unionism is about representing the rights of the workers through collective braining.
    Going on strike is the most unproductive thing that can happen to the economy.
    Barbados is badly in need of greater productivity, that is show we get growth.
    But the productivity we need is the use of technology right across every sector of government; we need an increase in per capita output through a more disciplined approach to work: arriving on time, doing a full day’s work and leaving on time.
    Productivity improves with little union interference; government should introduce new legislation to halt this thuggery.

  7. Hal Austin January 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm


  8. harry turnover January 16, 2017 at 6:37 am

    So who is responsible for productivity ? maam ..you are a UNION LEADER and DO NOT KNOW that the same WORKERS are RESPONSIBILE for their PRODUCTIVITY…..woman you is a real clown.

  9. Helicopter(8P) January 17, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    If productivity increase is needed then I think that the 8 hour duration may be changed to a higher level of productivity on a 4 hour schedule on a shift basis.


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