BUT wants to ‘bring this Govt to its knees’

President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd Monday said his union wanted to “bring this Government to its knees” to force the administration to the negotiating table.

Shepherd told protesting workers at the end of a march against Government’s austerity measures that was the reason the BUT had joined the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union, the Barbados Workers’ Union, the National Union of Public Workers and the Barbados Private Sector Association in Monday’s demonstration.

The BUT head also said his members were tired of being disrespected by the Ministry of Education, and had gone too long without a pay rise.

These protesters came out with loud and clear messages to Government.

“We joined in this action because our existence as a trade union is under severe threat. We joined because teachers are citizens of Barbados and are overtaxed. We have joined because we have had to fight too hard for respect from our employers, the Ministry of Education next door. We joined because we too have not had a salary increase from since 2010 and our purchasing power has been eroded by at least 12 per cent.

“We joined because we care about Barbados and we also join in this action with our sister unions because the trade unions in this country ought to be treated as partners. Brothers and sisters, unity is strength and no one union can do it alone. Each one of us here represented today has tried to engage Government departments and ministries individually and collectively to be treated with arrogance and dismissive behaviour from senior public officers including Minister of the Crown [Minister of Education Ronald Jones],” he stressed.

Referring to Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss who had ridiculed a recent march by the unions as a weight loss exercise, Shepherd said there was a clear mission “that we are going to achieve and that is to bring this Government to its knees and ask it to dialogue with the trade unions, the private sector and the Social Partnership”.

An estimated 20,000 marchers left Queen’s Park and snaked through The City, passing the Treasury Department, the Houses of Parliament and the Central Bank of Barbados before returning to the starting point for its climax.

This sign said it all about how this marcher felt about the Prime Minister’s recent vehicle acquisition.

Several businesses ceased operation to allow workers to join the march aimed at pressuring Government to return to the negotiating table to discuss recent austerity measures outlined in the 2017/2018 Budget.

Shepherd also revealed that his union had been involved in litigation for some time, and has had to fight and agitate for recognition by Government as a stakeholder in education, but he remained undaunted.

“I am not bothered about sitting across the table from PAD [the Personnel Administration Department] or the Ministry of the Civil Service or even the Ministry of Education and negotiating. Some people are looking for continued employment at the expense of the taxpayers so they will speak to Government increasing the already high wage bill. Selfish behaviour!” he said as he countered a recent suggestion by Democratic Labour Party stalwart Robert Bobby Morris that Government needed an independent negotiating team to help address some of the country’s public sector industrial relations issues, including salary negotiations.

“There is no need for no negotiating team, no specialized negotiating team. Tell. . . his Excellency that. Maybe as trade unionists and representatives of workers we can offer solutions to the Government in the area of thrift. Certainly to cut out wastage in Government would help,” he said.

22 Responses to BUT wants to ‘bring this Govt to its knees’

  1. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams July 25, 2017 at 5:30 am

    Good luck with that. You more you poke at a crab in a hole it digs in deeper.

    • Peter Lowe
      Peter Lowe July 25, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Soon we’ll see if they’re real crabs or not…I know that they are really worried after yesterdays march

    • Epaphras D. Williams
      Epaphras D. Williams July 25, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Peter Lowe we’ll see

  2. joan Worrell July 25, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Senator Adams became a senator after he retired from teaching. Senator Pat Symmonds became a senator after she retired from teaching. PM Stuart will tell the nation on political platforms and in the fullness of time about blackmail and senate appointments.

  3. Adrian Allison
    Adrian Allison July 25, 2017 at 6:50 am

    You must admire BUT President Pedro Shepherd.
    Like Leroy Trotman back in 1991 when the battle lines were drawn he chose to take the fight to his DLP collegues, now some sixteen years later Shepherd finds himself in similar circumstances.
    On this present trajectory and if Shepherd’s conscience is his guide and I know him to be an honorable man then he has no alternative than to exercise his vote against this present DLP administration whenever elections are called regardless of any political allegiances he may have.

  4. joan Worrell July 25, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Above should read ”in the fullness of time about blackmail, Government employees still in service and senate appointments”

  5. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen July 25, 2017 at 7:33 am

    If Steve Blackett see these children,he will lash them with Ronald Jones tongue.

  6. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen July 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Yesterday March had little effect on life in Barbados every thing was smooth to me ,how can up de thong…

  7. joan worrell July 25, 2017 at 8:39 am

    . @ Breadfruit

    Off the rock on an extended holiday starting this evening. Will resume battle whenever/if ever Internet is available during my holiday. Make sure you give Lorenza, the sheep, a good bath before I return to the island.

  8. Alex Alleyne July 25, 2017 at 8:39 am

    We all in BIM will remember this statement . Governments come and go so we all will be watching. ……WHO’s NEXT ???????.

  9. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn July 25, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Itz Queen come Election day you will see what effect the March had. This is a warning to the government. These same men will be sorry after the next general election in BARBADOS.

  10. nap July 25, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Well all will be sorry after the next general election.

  11. Chris Barnett
    Chris Barnett July 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    = ITS a sad time when children can clearly state the fundamental issues we are facing which ADULTS clearly cannot do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpb1rCf5Jlo

  12. Patrick July 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    How many persons in the March were Dems? I have no problem with the unions but yesterday demonstation was more a political statement and had little affect to the workers’ cause.

    It’s a pity that many workers who marched under duress cannot join the same Unions they marched with.

    Come on Toni, you need to visit Automotive Arts and Williams Industries.

  13. Colin King July 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Charles Herbert of The BPSA has stated that they want “Dialogue” with The Government, Pedro Shepherd The President Of The Barbados Union Of Teachers stated that the BUT wants to bring the current Government “To Its Knees”.

    One a completely reasonable request, the other total and complete hogwash.

    Herein lies the problem with this “Unholy Alliance” – Completely different and conflicting agendas.

    Nothing good can, sorry, will come from all of this.

    I expect this “Unholy Alliance” to implode in the not too distant future.

    I would like to ask Mr. Shepherd this question.

    When the Opposition BLP wins the general elections within the next year and have to implement similar austerity measures will the BUT want to bring That Government “To Its Knees” as well?

    One way or another Barbados is going to end up in the hands of The IMF and that means austerity.

    There is no getting away from that fact.

    A couple of days ago the IMF cut its projected growth for The USA for 2017 and 2018.

    That is not good news for us in The Caribbean.

    Bajans need to come to terms with the fact that Barbados is part of The World Economy and That God is not a Bajan.

    The sooner that happens the better for all of us.

    This current Government needs to go but common sense must prevail.

    Yesterday I went and “Observed” The March.

    Thankfully I did not participate.

    Participating would have meant that I would have been supporting what Mr. Herbert was asking for, which is reasonable.

    Unfortunately it would have also meant that I would have been supporting what Mr. Shepherd was indicating was his Union’s reason for taking part.

    That I find to be totally unacceptable in the circumstances.

  14. Lorenzo July 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Joan Worrell ,poor soul you leaving as the licks get hot with egg all over your face?That,s what you get for being a DLp ass licker.Wherever you going I hope they keep you.You are atotal political nuisance and like CCC will never be missed.

  15. John king July 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    HMM! @ lORENSA

    well the first time I came on she attacked me and did not had a clue who I was.

    had to put her in her place quick. poor Joan

  16. John king July 25, 2017 at 5:33 pm


    you will be surprised it was more than15000 of DEMS marching and the silent ones waiting to cast vote

  17. Carson C Cadogan July 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    An educated idiot like you would always make a statement like.

  18. John king July 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm


    Different interest groups have varying agendas. You can’t stop that, it’s how a democracy works and your observance means you had to take out precious time to consider what you could have watched on TV .

    The people have marched to secure their political rights. that right cannot be taken away from them. Did the Democrats in the USA marched after President trump won the election? what was the reason? you must think again on the two issues you argued

  19. Colin King July 25, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    @John King

    I fully appreciate and understand that different interest groups have varying agendas.

    I am also of the very strong opinion that it is time for a change of Government in Barbados.

    I however have a very serious concern regarding the tone of the rhetoric coming from certain quarters at this particular time.

    Barbados has always had a history of its citizens, across the spectrum, behaving with great maturity and level headedness in very trying times.

    Yes, there have been rare occasions, albeit very few and very far between, when out of control tempers have gotten the better of certain individuals, and things have been said, that was better left unsaid. However on these rare occasions the true Barbadian Spirit of reconciliation invariably came to the fore to pour water on a fiery situation.

    While I did not, and do not, have a problem with citizens marching to demonstrate their disapproval of a particular situation, I have a very serious problem with them doing so under the banner of bringing The Government “To Its Knees”!

    I am absolutely certain that Charles Herbert, and quite a few others, would on reflection have been disappointed that they themselves marched in a coalition that came out and blatantly said such!

    Yes, march by all means for much needed dialogue, but do not march, under these present circumstances, in order to bring The Government “To Its Knees”!

    We are on a very slippery slope here over the next few months leading up to the General Elections.

    We need to tread very, very carefully!

    Yesterday did not suggest that we have any intention of doing so!

    That I am afraid is very scary indeed!


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