Unions praised for ‘upping de thing’ on Government

Three political scientists and a veteran trade unionist have thrown their support behind the trade union movement as it wrestles with Government over the recent hike in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) and its failure to provide a coping subsidy for workers.

However, retired head of the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Dr George Belle has gone the extra mile in warning that the combined force of the unions could potentially close down the country.

The island’s leading trade unions – 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) yesterday gave Prime Minister Freundel Stuart 48 hours to respond positively to their demands for a reprieve from the austerity measures announced in the May 30 Budget, or face a possible national shutdown.

The threat came after the leaders of the four unions aborted an attempt to hand-deliver their request in writing to the Prime Minister after Stuart said he was expecting one person to deliver the letter to him at Parliament, but was told that all the leaders wanted to be present.

In assessing the political developments today, Belle told Barbados TODAY that members of the group had showed mature leadership when they declined the Prime Minister’s offer to meet with just one of them.

He also suggested that Tuesday’s march for tax relief was justified, given the dire economic conditions that have been created by the current policies of Government.

George Belle and Caswell Franklyn

However, Belle said the march should be viewed as part of a continuum, while recalling that during yesterday’s event BWU General Secretary Toni Moore and NUPW President Akanni McDowall could be heard saying: “Up de thing”.

His UWI successor, Dr Tennyson Joseph, also contended that success of the march should not be judged by the number of people it attracted, but as the first step in a series of actions.

Joseph also took issue with recent statements by Government minister Donville Inniss, who after being critical of the 400 per cent increase in the NSRL on the floor of Parliament had seemingly contradicted himself last weekend when he dismissed the union’s planned march against the tax measure as nothing more than a weight loss exercise.

While throwing his support behind yesterday’s march by the trade unions, political scientist and pollster Peter Wickham suggested that the trade unions might have to bring the country to a total standstill for Stuart to realize that there was a problem.

“I do not have a difficulty with a total standstill of the country. I have no problem with a 48-hour ultimatum. I think it will become necessary for the unions to go to the next step. The 48-hour ultimatum would not mean anything to Stuart,” Wickham cautioned.

Meanwhile, veteran trade unionist Caswell Franklyn contended that 48 hours was too much time, while arguing that it was high time the unions took a stand, with a view to getting rid of the current Government.

“The unions should have had this country shut down until the Government goes,” Franklyn, who is general secretary of the Unity Workers Union, told Barbados TODAY.

“How much more damage can this Government do? It is about time they go. This Government has done more damage to the island than Hurricane Janet,” he added.

15 Responses to Unions praised for ‘upping de thing’ on Government

  1. Wayne July 13, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Sounds like some brownnosing here, I heard the leader of the BWU declare in her address that there were only 4 unions, ,so where does Mr. Franklin feature in this.?

  2. Miguel Griffith
    Miguel Griffith July 13, 2017 at 2:12 am

    George an old washout party faithful, Wickham a fraud & nahthing-narain and Franklyn a public nobody. This had to be a rush article. These would be among the last persons I would write an article seeking any type of advice or statement. These men remind me of Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon. Advice on destruction and division.

    • Rechelle July 13, 2017 at 6:22 am

      Miguel do continue to bury your head in the sand.

  3. Sisleen Greene July 13, 2017 at 7:22 am

    The best thing that Miquel and all the DLP cohorts do is cuss people who they feel are mashing their toes. Well here goes when election day ends, we the electorate will have choppedl off all wunna toes, so continue your tirade until such time.

  4. joan Worrell July 13, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Same tag team. Check the names. How can we believe a Cadres Poll result? Answer Owen Arthur’s query in another column of Barbados Today i.e

    “If the minister buckles and cuts the taxes, then he has to find an alternative way of paying the bills. What are those? I have said that in my view the only alternative way is [policy based loans from] the IMF, IDB, CDB. Are [the unions] prepared to come and go there with me?” Arthur enquired.

  5. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn July 13, 2017 at 8:13 am

    These union ain’t have the guts to close down no county. They will like TOO. You will have to bring back Clement Payne from his dead grave in Trinidad to do that. Ministers take back their ten percent. What the unions did for their workers. These union are pretty talkers. No action. You telling the workers to hold strain government ain’t get no money but yet still one morning all of them CRIMINALS get together and take back their ten percent. I feel that these unions playing games with the people HEAD.

  6. Helicopter(8P) July 13, 2017 at 9:46 am

    This article just reminds me of the times when I had been at Army Battalion where individuals who did not perform at an outstanding level were listed as “Rag Bags”, Dirt Balls and Undesirables. Precaution and preparation are the essential elements of getting a passing grade by the Divisional Commander and the general-staff members.

  7. Adrian July 13, 2017 at 10:27 am

    When I saw the headline I wonder who could do such a thing but then into having seeing who was giving the praise I could only smile; totally expected from these guys. A waste of writing space.

  8. Jherri Santana July 13, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I find the unions are wasting our country’s time..
    I don’t think Bajans got the guts to come out of them comfort zones and speak as one loudly to the issues that are bothering them.

    That’s why the politicians continue to fool we..we too gullible and fart frighten.. If the taxes killing we and stifling progress.. we simply have to start acting decisively..

    step # 1: Boycott in mass all the business places that prices don’t suit we pockets
    step #2 don’t listen to no politicians and dem pretty speeches, when in parliament and also when them come to your door begging fuh a vote.
    step 3# Examine the candidates applying to represent your constituency carefully..pull apart their proposals by asking deep penetrating questions..check their credentials out and their track record of service to constituency..If they don’t measure up to 8 out of ten ..don’t put no x next to them names..dont even tolerate them around you ..until they can show their worth and mettle without having to be asked to do stuff.

  9. Nickk Moore
    Nickk Moore July 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I want to know what they up…..really now

  10. Geoff Small July 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    You march or even shut down the country and then what? what are your ideas for resolving the issues. If you do not like what the government is doing, vote them out. You are only making a bad situation worse. Should this situation prevail, Barbadians will be the losers and the blame will be on your shoulders. I am going to reiterate again, that in order for the government to stop wildcat strikes new legislation must be introduced to curb this behavior. There should be no strikes or lockouts during the term of the contract. During this time, all conflicts should be resolved by the grievance procedure in a timely manner. No tax increase, layoffs will occur and a drop in union membership and disrespect for unionism.

  11. Patrick July 13, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    The politicians using the union to bring down an elected government.

    Anyone remember Kenny Anthony’s constant attempts to bring down Stephenson King, his matches and civil disobedience.
    He won and the same unions brought him down, he lasted one term.

    A total shut down of thr counyry will only hurt the poor, idiots up the thing.

  12. Haskell Murray July 13, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    The unions were not elected to run the government of Barbados and if they go on strike and shut down the business of Barbados the government should decertify all of them thereby giving their employers the right to fire every one of them

  13. Wolsley Grannum July 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

    The unions and their cronies are in a conspiracy to bring down the duly elected government of Barbados.

  14. jeffrey Durant July 14, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    The govermemt did a survive and a report came in that the goverment departmemts over staff and unproductive
    Rising tax to prop up this behavior is nonsense and not doing amything about the unproductivness is madness. Why keep business that u have to burden the citizens with extra taxes..
    sell sell and sell and get along with running the country


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