Unions slam Inniss over “weight loss” comment

The island’s major trade unions have slammed the recent remarks by Minister of International Business, Small Business Development, Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss, in which he dismissed their decision to march from Queen’s Park to Parliament on Tuesday in protest of the recent National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), as “a walk to burn calories”.

The minister was at the time speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) walkthrough of his St James South constituency on Saturday. He argued that Government had already articulated its position quite clearly and therefore any attempt by the unions to force Government’s hand would be pointless.

From left: BSTU President Mary Redman, NUPW General Secretary Rosalyn Smith, NUPW President Akanni McDowall, BWU General Secretary Toni Moore and BUT President Pedro Shepherd.

However, in a joint statement today the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) accused Inniss of  “mocking the Barbadian workers”.

“The minister’s comments in a section of the press are extremely unfortunate and bespeak a callousness, arrogance and insensitivity that has too often been observed both in the mouthings and behaviours of some members of the Government. Initially, the unions thought it better to ignore the Minister’s call for attention, but, sadly, this also rings true for far too many governance practices to which this society has been subjected by said minister and his other Cabinet colleagues,” the statement said.

The unions further accused the Government spokesman of ridiculing workers against the backdrop of the recent pay restoration afforded parliamentarians.

“The minister’s ten per cent has been restored, as has that of his colleagues, and so, [as they did in 1991] his interests have been protected before the inflicting of grievous wounds to this society. The daily suffering of Barbadians and the efforts of the unions, which are now the only entities trying to safeguard their interests, have become a source of ridicule and amusement for the minister and perhaps, others of his Cabinet colleagues,” the statement added, contending that “the efforts of Barbadians and their unions to seek to persuade against and reverse economic and social upheaval are being treated with scorn and contempt”.

However, notwithstanding what the unions are calling insulting behaviour, they have sought to assure Barbadians that they would continue to be “mature and responsible” in the push to get Government to reconsider the austerity measures presented in Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s May 30 Budget.

Today, the unions are expressed hope that Inniss’ statements would cause workers to come out in their numbers on Tuesday and demand respect.

“Above all, the minister’s comments should be a galvanising force to the symbolic walk by leaders of this island’s trade unions, urging all Barbadians to shift some weight in addressing the concern of non-caring and dictatorial tendencies which are directly aimed at silencing and disrespecting workers and their unions,” the statement added.

23 Responses to Unions slam Inniss over “weight loss” comment

  1. Helen Connolly
    Helen Connolly July 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    SMH

    Reply
  2. Roger Headley July 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    He probably was on a ‘spiritual high’ as usual.

    Reply
  3. just observing July 9, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    We gine lose calories , dem gine lose de election. Which is better?

    Reply
  4. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar July 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I am in total agreement with Inniss. The march is nothing more than an exercise to burn calories .

    Reply
    • Rubertha Blackman
      Rubertha Blackman July 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      I disagree with you, the march is to give the union membership the illusion that they working for them and willing to do something even if it is a smoke screen.

      Reply
    • Hunte Omar
      Hunte Omar July 10, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Rubertha Blackman You are so correct. They are being used .

      Reply
  5. Marcia Applewhaite
    Marcia Applewhaite July 9, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    They burning calories and losing their jobs.

    Reply
  6. Annette Harewood
    Annette Harewood July 9, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Disrespectful and obnoxious that is how most of DEM are #justmyopinion #alwaysputtingDEMfeetinDEMmout #SMDH

    Reply
  7. MArk Anthony
    MArk Anthony July 9, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Inniss stole that comment from me.

    Reply
  8. Mia July 9, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Let me translate…. If you march from St. Lucy to St. Philip, NOTHING WILL CHANGE. I’m sorry, but the unions should look for alternative methods to help their members. Start looking at the basic needs – food, clothing and shelter and make that your focus. Put your energy into useful ideas and stop wasting time with the government.

    Reply
  9. Milli Watt July 9, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I know I know…………ask for an apology

    Reply
  10. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn July 10, 2017 at 12:45 am

    IT LOOKS AS THOUGH THE UNION SELLING OUT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. IF A MINISTER CAN SAY THOSE WORDS AND GET AWAY WITH IT. IT MEANS THAT ALL OF THESE UNIONS IS TAKING THE PEOPLE MONEY. A ONE DAY MARCH DON’T MAKE NO SENSE TO ME. ONLY IF YOU ALL WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT AS THE MINISTER SAID.

    Reply
    • Adrian Maynard
      Adrian Maynard July 10, 2017 at 7:46 am

      A one day exercise to lose weight don’t make no sense either

      Reply
    • Rubertha Blackman
      Rubertha Blackman July 10, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      I think most people know the union selling out their membership. This is a desperate attempt by the union to look like the are a union doing their jobs.

      Reply
  11. Dario R Bruce
    Dario R Bruce July 10, 2017 at 6:23 am

    i say cause an island wide shut down for a week or 2

    Reply
  12. Ivy-Anne Duke
    Ivy-Anne Duke July 10, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Nothing disrespectful about Inniss’ comments. He is entitled to his opinion. Who gives the union movement the right to deny the man his opinion? It is sad that whenever someone says something that others might not agree with, they want an apology, or it is obnoxious, or some other nonsense. Weight loss, he said, weight loss, he is entitled to mean.Jeez!!

    Reply
    • Angel Maria
      Angel Maria July 10, 2017 at 6:55 am

      You do realize that they too are entitled to theirs? Also, I am sure that you have been around long enough to know that not everything you think has to be said publicly. Words have consequences and some opinions are offensive.

      Reply
    • Ivy-Anne Duke
      Ivy-Anne Duke July 10, 2017 at 6:56 am

      so what is WRONG with his words? Other than burn calories, what will happen?

      Reply
  13. Claire Dawn-Marie Gittens
    Claire Dawn-Marie Gittens July 10, 2017 at 6:57 am

    They could not find a longer table in the pic, though? Got Mary Redman out to sea.

    Reply
  14. Sherlene Phillips
    Sherlene Phillips July 10, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Very disappointing response from the Union…but i would like to know…if they call for a prolonged strike would there be legal consequences like jail etc?? Why are these unions so timid???

    Reply
    • Rubertha Blackman
      Rubertha Blackman July 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Because most got political affiliations long gone are the days when unions fought for workers rights its now how do I get into the exploitation of the people club.

      Reply
  15. Ferreira Claude
    Ferreira Claude July 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I believe the unions are concerned about the long term repercussion to the economy if they call for major hard line strike but ironically the cruel government is feeding of this. This government is heartless…. they restored their 10% then implement taxes on the back of people who can barely make ends meet and survives from hand to mouth. The wastage and misuse of fund is so blatant and the co$k suckers are relentless to satisfy their personal needs.

    Reply
  16. Rubertha Blackman
    Rubertha Blackman July 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    LOL I hope Inniss will invite his party colleagues on the march because all ah dem obese and could do with a weight loss program. Like call elections and the buffett sponsored by the tax payers for dem will be over.

    Reply

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