Charged up

Businesses could support national shutdown – Herbert

Employers and the labour movement are discussing an unusual marriage that could result in support from the private sector for any decision by the unions to shut down the country over the increasingly vexing National Social Responsibility Levy.

Both sides have expressed dissatisfaction with the burdensome tax, which increased from two per cent to ten per cent effective July 1, and they are looking to force the Freundel Stuart administration’s hands on the matter.

The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) and union leaders met yesterday to discuss the austerity measures announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in the May 30 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, after which BPSA Chairman Charles Herbert said both sides were unhappy with the absence of dialogue between Government and its Social Partners “over our financial problem and the Budget”.

Herbert disclosed little about the meeting, but said the umbrella agency of private sector organizations would meet with its membership today and tomorrow to finalize its position.

Akanni McDowall and Charles Herbert

While describing the talks as “a very good meeting”, Herbert also said the grouping was “very concerned about what the unions might do”.

Still, when pressed on whether the business community would join the labour movement in a national shutdown, the BPSA boss told Barbados TODAY there would be no support unless they reached a common position, “but if we do have a common position we might”.

“We really can’t say much at this stage. All we can say at this stage is that we are talking with each other and we are exploring the common positions. After that you have to interpret what will happen if we have common positions,” he said.

Herbert added that the business community was also not pleased that Stuart had rejected the recommendations put forward by his own foreign exchange and fiscal deficit working groups of the Social Partnership earlier this year, without giving an explanation.

“We feel that dialogue is what is missing in that we don’t know why they rejected them and we were not given an opportunity to defend our feelings. We certainly have not bought into the NSRL and they have not made any effort to sell us on it, except to say that there is no other alternative, and of course we had given them alternatives, which we don’t know why they have [been] rejected,” Herbert said.

When contacted President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Eddy Abed and outgoing Executive Director of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation Tony Walcott refused to comment on the matter, stating the BPSA was leading the charge.

Following a march on Tuesday from Queen’s Park to Independence Square, after which they failed in their attempt to hand-deliver a letter to Stuart, the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) gave the Prime Minister 48 hours to respond positively to their demands to reduce the NSRL by 50 per cent, or provide workers with a coping subsidy.

Failing this, the unions threatened to “up de ting”, generally interpreted to mean a national shutdown.

The ultimatum expired today and up until the time of publication, there had been no signs of movement by Government or word on the next steps by the unions.

marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb 

27 Responses to Charged up

  1. Nikolaos Yarde
    Nikolaos Yarde July 13, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Well well well well lemme grab some pop corn u know your screwed when business and trade unions agree aha

    Reply
  2. Patty July 13, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    signs of the times…

    Reply
  3. joan worrell July 13, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    One of the big ups in the organization refused to speak to Stuart on the eve of the last election saying that he will communicate with the incoming Prime Minister. Oh laudy dlaudy. Stuart was returned as Prime Minister and the big-up got the boot. No Government worth its salt bows to the demands of Unions . Remember when they took foodstuff off the shelves because Barrow said that they had to be price controlled? It is nothing new. I can understand the NUPW , BSTU AND BUT sleeping in bed with business people but BWU of all Unions? Toni , my dear am I of sound mind tonight? How are you going to negotiate for your workers against the said same employers when the show is over? Sir Richard warned in another column confirmed.that Unions all over the world are losing members daily. Is this what you are working towards? Up your ting. Destroy your union.

    Reply
  4. joan worrell July 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Madame Mia , you had any discussions with Akani before he spoke to Herbert? You remember a couple months ago, the tongue lashing you had for Herbert? May I remind you?

    Bad call!

    BLP leader slams private sector income tax proposal
    Added by Marlon Madden on May 15, 2017.
    Saved under Local News

    The Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has reacted swiftly to a suggestion by the business community that Government should consider raising income tax instead of imposing new taxes to combat its fiscal challenges.

    BLP leader Mia Mottley issued a brief statement late this evening saying it was unfair to expect already struggling Barbadians to carry the burden for “Government’s incompetence or the greed of a few” by raising income taxes.

    “We have listened keenly to the private sector and however well intentioned they may be, there can be no attempt to place income taxes back on the backs of poor people in this country again,” a defiant Mottley said.

    “Poor people could barely afford income taxes in good times, how could they in all conscience do it now in these difficult times and ask them to pay for the Government’s incompetence of the greed of a few? [It] is completely unacceptable if we are to maintain a stable cohesive society in this country. The truth is, fiscal problems in this country were not caused by poor people and the solutions to our fiscal problems will not come from putting on the backs of poor people additional income taxes,” the Opposition Leader stressed.

    I am calling on Toni Moore to disassociate herself from any meetings with the Barbados Private sector concerning upping we ting. Her place at any meeting with that body is to sit on the opposite side of the table while negotiating better working conditions for workers.

    Reply
  5. joan worrell July 13, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Mr.Akani,

    Why were you noticeable absent at the following meeting with Herbert , the Prime Minister and Toni Moore? Why weren’t you there to represent your workers on April 20th and up the thing against Herbert and Stuart?

    Read the article for yourself

    Triple threat

    QEH, BTB, SSA first on chopping block
    Added by Barbados Today on April 20, 2017.
    Saved under Local News

    Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has called for urgent consideration to be given to the future of three key state enterprises.

    Amid mounting pressure on his Government to slash its overall deficit, Stuart has ordered that immediate introspection be made of the operations of the loss-making Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), the Barbados Transport Board (BTB) and the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA), which now appear destined for the proverbial official chopping block.

    However, it is still too early to say what will be the outcome of the Government-ordered review exercise, even as the local private sector continues to press the Stuart administration to take “decisive action” to address the island’s worrying economic challenges.

    Just yesterday, the President of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Charles Herbert repeated his warning that “the deficit needs to be closed and there needs to be fiscal reform to ensure a balanced budget in the short term, so that the credit rating can be improved and allow us to refinance foreign debt that becomes due”.

    The warning came as the BPSA prepares to update its members on some of its own recommendations to Government.

    “The meeting on Friday is for the private sector to tell its members what it has been doing in its advocacy and what the private sector recommendations are on the economy, and to elicit feedback from our members – to give expression to things they may think or know,” Herbert said following a meeting held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister with select members of the island’s Social Partnership.

    Noticeably absent from the table was the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), which is the island’s largest public sector union. However, sitting with Stuart were General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Toni Moore, her predecessor Sir Roy Trotman, and Cedric Murrell, head of the umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB).

    Reply
  6. ricardo July 14, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Time has elapsed, so the next few days will be interesting. The unions cant back down , and the government is not budging.

    Reply
  7. Saga Boy July 14, 2017 at 8:24 am

    The only thing the unions can do to save face is to call a sick out. Employees in the private or public sectors will not support the call because they want their jobs. If there is a strike for more than 3 days the unions will be bankrupt because they have no money in the strike fund.

    Reply
  8. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 8:39 am

    At the end of this impasse, whether it is today, tomorrow or next year, how can the Barbados Workers Union represent its members (employees) in any action against their employer ( any member-company of the Private sector) .

    Reply
  9. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Akani, while you are at the bargaining table with the Private Sector , can you ask for some money for the NUPW Strike Fund and declare the amount you received for later auditing? This is how it is done in England.

    Reply
  10. Saga Boy July 14, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Is the private sector asking the union to forego wage increases? The government has been consulting with the unions and private sector. Consultation does not mean agreement. As Joan Worrell points out even the BLP disagreed with the position of the private sector on increased taxation. Has the private sector therefore changed its position? What is the private sector willing to do to help the average worker?

    Reply
  11. Patrick July 14, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Workers beware, anytime the Union and the Employers are in bed together something fishy is happening.

    Reply
  12. Patrick July 14, 2017 at 9:29 am

    When the unions sit to talk with BPSA see if they can get a world rated security company to meet with Toni Moore to negotiate wages and salaries for the workers who have not had an increase in salaries for over ten years.

    Reply
  13. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 9:40 am

    @Saga Boy

    I was taught many years ago that History is a story of past events. I not sure if this crop of union leaders did History at school. If they did, they have forgotten the story of why the trade unions in the Caribbean were started. OMG, it was the merchant class and the plantocrats who treated the citizens of the respective island subhumanly. Sir Grantley Adams(Barbados), Robert Bradshaw (St. Kitts) , Eric Gairy ( Grenada) , Burnham and Jagan (Guyana), Norman Manley and Bustamante( Jamaica) , Uriah Butler and Albert Gomes (Trinidad), must be weeping in their graves to hear what this group is doing to trade unionism in Barbados.

    Reply
  14. Saga Boy July 14, 2017 at 9:58 am

    @Joan. This is a private sector that has treated the BWU badly. Remember Sandy Lane, Royal Shop etc. They stood together. They continue to treat workers badly especially those on swan street. Is Abeds going to ask his Asian colleagues to pay workers above minimum wages? Are they asking the private sector to encourage greater union membership? Abeds nor The Submarine company are not unionized companies. Why are the unions allowing themselves to be used by a class who has no uses of them? Wake up and smell the coffee.

    Reply
  15. Sherlock Holmes. July 14, 2017 at 11:02 am

    The charades goes on and on what a tangled web they weave.

    Reply
  16. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Saga Boy

    The paper has done Akanni an injustice. I am sure that there are people looking like Akanni who work in the private sector holding top positions. Why didn’t one of them negotiate the strike action with Akanni so that the average Bajan would give them maximum support in their endeavours ? I know Charles and he is a decent respectable person but wrong colour asking the working class of Barbados to withhold labour against the majority black Government for which they voted.

    Reply
  17. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 11:39 am

    The injustice referred to, is the publishing a black trade unionist and a white employer. Colour should never be brought into the topic but the frailty of human minds will force one to come to conclusions that are not necessarily true. As I said before, Charles is one of the nicest white men I have ever met.

    Reply
  18. Milli Watt July 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    why is this a surprise……trade unions have always been selling guns to the capitalist invaders for years. stupse Arthur like he did know what was going on that is why he talk with such authority. I got my drinks, popcorn and toilet paper the next week going be bare s#!$* ooopppssss I mean sport in this place btw labour in this country in real trouble.

    Reply
  19. Alex Alleyne July 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I think it will be safe to say that those “private Companies” do not have members that are unionized . If I have been paying dues and hearing this from my boss being in bed with the unions , I done paying anything because I done know I won’t get any representation coming…….WOW.

    Reply
  20. Alex Alleyne July 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    looking forward to after the election and if the ruling party get “cat-spraddle” with a new Party in office its to the IMF here I come seeing that none of Chris doings ain’t work. I wonder what and how these 2 (union & private companies) gine deal with it. I keep hearing from IMF that Government workers must go home and Customs must join BRA.
    Action continues.

    Reply
  21. Lorenzo July 14, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    oh lord my belly yardfowlism at it,s worse Saga Boy,Joan Worrell,Patrickand Sherlock Holmes hogging up the Blog ,where is CCC,GreenGiant,Zeus and the rest of the brigade?You all who never run anything in yor lives not even a breadshop lecturing Mr McDowall on trade union strategy.Now I have heard everything .Why you all so afraid?this reminds you all of 1994 when Mr Trotman led a massive march against the same DLP which caused Mr Sandiford to call elections which they lost.Remember the saying time longer than twine the polls showing it and on the ground the majority of the people waiting patiently.Mr McDowall up the thing.Take my advise keep of the people blog spewing nonsense, like the moderator on DLp tv last night.

    Reply
  22. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    The ram sheep bleating again. Still wearing the same old musty , red vest shirt from 2013 election with the inscription ”Tings dread” . Time Mia ”change de ting” yuh wearing.

    Reply
  23. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Dear Madam Editor

    I take this opportunity to congratulate you and your staff for giving Barbadians this inside scoop of what took place at the meeting yesterday. Knowledge in advance enables one to be prepared i.e to be forewarned is to be forearmed. What the ”Barbados Today Herbert” said in this scoop is different from what the ”Herbert” in the other newspaper said. We, the Barbadian people, love the ”Barbados Today Herbert” as he unwittingly let the cat out of the bag which the Barbados Coalition of Trade Unions was holding close to their chest.

    Reply
  24. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    All you have to do ”Mr. Barbados Today Herbert” when they threaten your group with industrial action at a later date, is to remind them of what they begged you for yesterday. There is an old saying ”One good turn deserves another” . Hammer it home to them when they fly up in your face.

    Reply
  25. Lorenzo July 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    well Joan Worrell I prefer musty red anyday to musty yellow so take that yardfowl and before you respond in the gutter like you Dems like I still waiting for the list of anything of substance your party has done 2008 till now,take your time and list them as I believe you will struggle to find any,but knowing the slimy know all character you are you will side step my challenge

    Reply
  26. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Change your clothes and then speak to me . You are smelling. Each time you come on the blog, you leave a trail like a skunk. Things were dread with you while the BLP was in power. Throw away that red shirt , the red hat and white pumps. Ask Mia for a pair of Nike trainers and a nice polo shirt. You walking about talking about ”up de ting” instead of ”çhanging de ting” yuh wearing. BLP supporters run from you when you turn up meetings smelling like that.

    Reply
  27. joan Worrell July 14, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Here it is , we are having a serious discussion about trade unions going cap in hand to employers begging favours, that will backfire if they have to later stage industrial action against the said employers and a sheep is interrupting all the time about yardfowls. Anytime a trade union begs an employer to pay its members while it is on strike because it doesn’t have a strike fund to give them a stipend , it should close shop.

    Reply

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