Stop it now!

Private sector urges unions to end industrial action

A week after hinting that it could support a national shutdown by the unions as they sought to force Government back to the negotiation table, the umbrella agency of private sector organizations here is today singing a different tune.

Far from cheering an ongoing sick-out and work-to-rule, the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) has urged the labour unions to end the industrial action, arguing it is hurting business.

The island’s four major public sector unions – the National Union of Public Workers, the Barbados Workers’ Union, the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union – have embarked on protest action in a bid to force Government to either lower its contentious National Social Responsibility Levy from ten per cent to five per cent, or grant public servants a coping subsidy.

With both the airport and the seaport affected, Transport Board drivers joined the protest today, stranding hundreds of commuters, some of whom were unable to get to work.

After emerging from a one-and-a-half-hour standing room only meeting with members Thursday afternoon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, BPSA Chairman Charles Herbert said the unions’ action was hurting the private sector, although he did not say to what extent.

From left, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association Rudy Grant in conversation with CEO of the Barbados Public Sector Association (BPSA) Anne Reid, BPSA President Charles Herbert and President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Eddy Abed.

“One of our main interests is to minimize the impact on business by the industrial action and we certainly will be using whatever communication we have with labour to try and get them to reduce the impact, to cease industrial action. We understand their frustration, therefore if we have dialogue [with the union] their concerns may be part of that dialogue, but we certainly would like to see the industrial action come to an end as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We have spoken to labour and we have confirmed there is absolutely no dispute between the labour movement and the private sector. What we are seeing going on is between the labour movement and the Government. It does not involve the private sector. To some extent we are caught up in it and we are affected by it, but there is no dispute between labour and the private sector,” he reiterated.

Coming out of Thursday’s consultation with business leaders was a consensus on what BPSA members supported and what they opposed, Herbert said, explaining that they felt strongly that the Freundel Stuart administration must dump its current austerity measures and come up with a new medium-term fiscal strategy.

However, he insisted that the basis for any discussion about a growth strategy should be the recommendations presented by the Fiscal Deficit Committee earlier this year, which were rejected by Stuart.

“Those recommendations have the broad support of our associations and all of the individual members who came here.

“I think there is also a very clear message of support that we are all concerned and do not support the budgetary measures which are in force. We feel that it will have the wrong effect and that they are going to be disastrous for the country and they are not going to achieve the aims they were set out to achieve,” the BPSA head said.

He said the association intended to intensify its consultation with members, stressing there was keen interest in a meeting of the Social Partnership.

Stuart has already agreed in principle to such a meeting, although he has yet to set a date, much to the disappointment of both the business community and labour leaders.

In the absence of a confirmation, Herbert said the BPSA would begin its own talks, “[with] whoever is willing to come to the table and with whoever will come to the table”.

Supporting the BPSA’s call for dialogue through the Social Partnership, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Eddy Abed said it was necessary to explore alternatives to the austere Budget, which “gives us the pain”.

“We need to be able to say there are ills in this country and we are prepared collectively to work on them, but we have to see that there is a way forward, but this Budget does not give us growth, it gives us the pain. Sadly I don’t think that we will achieve what we are looking for at the end of the financial year,” Abed said.

Meantime, Herbert dismissed a message circulating on WhatsApp stating that the business community intended to discuss a no confidence motion against Government at Thursday’s meeting, stating the private sector had no such interest and “no such motion came to this meeting”.

24 Responses to Stop it now!

  1. Shadwayne Antonio Decarlo Wilkinson
    Shadwayne Antonio Decarlo Wilkinson July 20, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    lol short term mean more than long term to them it seems

  2. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore July 20, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Waiting for Stuart to set a date. His is an admin that acts only when there’s a deep crisis bordering on the catastrophic. When one thinks of Stuart, one automatically thinks of malasses climbing up a hill. He will continue to clasp the hands across the chest as he repose in deep slumber waiting for the crisis to deepen. Then & only then can be be jolted into inaction as he’s yet to resolve any crisis at the national level. Arrogant, spite, vindictiveness, callousness, indifference are choice words that aptly describes him.

    • Rechelle July 21, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Molasses climbing up a hill on a cold day….

  3. joan worrell July 21, 2017 at 12:01 am

    I wonder how Toni Moore feels tonight. Oh My God. Why has she allowed the great Barbados Workers Union to become the laughing stock of other ILO member unions. BWU members are returning to work amidst a sick-out (strike) and are turning their backs on her. The private sector is turning their backs on her. The Barbados public is turning its back on her. Over 2000 teachers who should be out there vocally supporting her, singing and chanting slogans and holding up placards, are enjoying their holidays elsewhere . That can be seen as turning their backs on her. The best way to save face at the present moment, Toni, is to tell your union members that the sick-out and strikes are hurting the people whom they were not intended to hurt and as a consequence, the union would suspend further action so that the social partnership can have discussions with the Prime Minister without duress. Forget the up we ting rubbish. That is for a bashment party.

    • Saga Boy July 21, 2017 at 12:56 am

      Good point Joan but The strike is not only inconveniencing the poor and needy, it is also affecting the rich. This is the time they act as parasites and make significant monies at the expense of the poor without having to give back to crop over. The private sector have no time for a union that stands in their way of profit. The BWU and NUPW are no longer as powerful as they used to be. Over the previous two to three years NUPW have been calling out the SSA at crop over time. This time around SSA workers having learnt that their union betrayed them, want nothing to do with the NUPW. The sickout does not seem to have affected the General public in any big way. Employees however will go home with less money at a time they need extra money to fete. I predict that the private sector will not be marching with the BWU. Next week workers will be tired and will go back to work cause payday is just a few days have have they achieved in two days.

    • Sherlock Holmes. July 21, 2017 at 1:50 am

      Yes that up de thing statement was so juvenile and low IQ coming from supposedly educated people,well well well.

      • hcalndre July 21, 2017 at 4:35 am

        When Rosa Parks did not move to the back of the bus, some blacks said the back of the bus arrives at the same time too but when it was law that blacks could not be denied the right to sit where they please, guess who were the first ones to sit up front. I never seen so many people speaking against unions as bajans do. People honk their horns in support of the workers when driving by and do not cross picket lines. Leave the issue up to the government and the employers and they will take care of the workers. Why is Mr. Stuart finding it so difficult to meet with the Unions? maybe he knows from history that the worse you treat bajans, that`s the way they like it.

        • hewers of wood July 21, 2017 at 7:13 am

          @haicdre – we might need to factor in some markers here. Who is actually typing and who is getting fat sitting at the front of the bus. Then we got some lot who just like the back of that god darn bus. The ones who sneak and catch it and feel they have no other options. Now this lot is our real problem and crunks on the arm.

    • Mark My Word July 21, 2017 at 5:20 am

      It’s time to stop giving the Union duty free Mercedes Benz, make dem pay the duty on these Luxury cars and stop riding on the Tax payers back.

    • Milli Watt July 21, 2017 at 9:38 am

      @ Joan this crowd don’t have it in them for the long haul after all Toni and that crowd driving bout de strike fund.

  4. Sean Gibbs July 21, 2017 at 5:30 am

    All everyone wants to do is talk, talk, talk. I agree with the unions, it’s time for ACTION not talk. Let the government know that it’s the people who put them there and they did not come to power by voting for themselves. Shut down the whole country and the government will have no choice but to do what the people want. I can’t believe that the private sector want more dialogue. The lot of long talk has gotten no one anywhere with this government so why keep banging your head against a brick wall? ACTION ACTION ACTION.

    • Rechelle July 21, 2017 at 7:08 am

      Shut it down!

  5. Sheron Inniss July 21, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I agree with the unions.

  6. hewers of wood July 21, 2017 at 7:03 am

    @sheron – oh yes indeed. There is always that lot of soft f@#$ up set of speckled bananas on the bunch f@$&ing up the whole bunch and eventually the tree. While the mealy worms up in dey eating. Oh hariette Tubman if u can see we now. Same mentality. Their education got we good.

  7. Troy July 21, 2017 at 7:16 am

    All this talk about consultation and dialogue….in the end you get no result. Just talk talk talk. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. Someone has to stand up against the Froon administration if change is to come about. Backing the unions 100%. Time for change.

  8. Waiting July 21, 2017 at 9:27 am

    PM Stuart is the best for he knows that we TALK a lot so all he has to do is promise and the gullible Private Sector will believe him. Of course he will talk but only when forced to, and ACTION will do it.

  9. Milli Watt July 21, 2017 at 9:36 am

    ohhhhhhhhh what a tangled web we weave. Indications of an unholy alliance shot down and the roaches scampering to the darkness now the light is on stupse. All this talk and it looking like Fruns going have the last word on this mess.

  10. Saga Boy July 21, 2017 at 9:41 am

    The sick out had not impact. Only poor people get hurt. Waste of time. Now they have to sit down and talk. Some employees out of pocket and dem still driving their big rides. Meanwhile Akani and his team will be using your money to fly and stay in a nice hotel for the next week. The plan between he and Cozier was exposed. Time to talk sensibly.

  11. Milli Watt July 21, 2017 at 9:46 am

    If Fruns play his cards right he could break this strike………now that would be a feather to take forward

  12. joan Worrell July 21, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Believe it or not Ms Moore, Satan has friends. Ignore the people who will give you bad advice. Listen to the ones who want to see the survival of your union. Yes you would have read books , magazines and newspapers advocating the merging of trade unions to remain relevant in the 21st century. There is nothing wrong with that but you must not allow people from other divisions of the coalition, with personal grievances against the employer to use your union to achieve their goals. Your union didn’t have a problem with the employer but it was drawn into a battle that didn’t concern it. Yes you are a woman like myself but there is a Bible quote which you should be aware of when dealing with people who are aggrieved . It states that Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned. Pick sense from that Bible quote and take fresh guard.

    Never in the life of the Barbados Workers Union, has any of its leaders been associated with the gangster or rude boy behaviour of some of your associates. Yes, they have made demands of the employers in the past with threatening words which weren’t offensive to the employers or right-thinking Barbadians.

    You should be sensible enough to know when things are not going in your favour. Call a meeting of your members next week and thank them for their support in getting the public and private sectors to understand the unfavourable and unfortunate position in which they find themselves. Furthermore let them know CTUSAB seems to be going in the direction of accepting that the increase in NSRL is a fact of life and are they are prepared to meet and formulate plans to move the country forward in these times of austerity.

  13. Tedd July 21, 2017 at 11:24 am

    The private sector backing away from pressuring the government, after getting some hollow promises is not surprising at all.

    Did not this same thing happen the last time when they left Leroy Trotman (now Sir Roy) to march on his own against Sandy ( now Sir Lloyd). We read history for a reason, it keeps repeating itself.

  14. Tennyson Drakes July 21, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    People, get real. The recent imposition of taxes is to save jobs in the Public sector. The proposals put forward by the Private sector organization was to send home Public workers in order to reduce the deficit. This administration is trying it’s utmost best to save jobs and avoid mass social dislocation in the country. What a thing.

    • Breadfruit. July 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      you mean trying to save votes,

  15. Breadfruit. July 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    @ ?joan
    MAN yuh a real gud spin doctor.

    Ms Moore aint as gullible as you think doh

    If she tek ur foolish spin doc advice she only gine deplete she government workers membership and swell akanis ovuh at NUPW.


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