BWU: PM’s closing comments erodes gains made at meeting

Whatever confidence that today’s meeting of the Social Partnership might have brought the labour movement and Government closer to a consensus on the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) was eroded in a flash when Prime Minister Freundel Stuart delivered his closing remarks, according to General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore.

Trade unions and private sector associations held a marathon meeting with Government at the Hilton Barbados Resort, during which the NSRL, which increased from two per cent to ten per cent as of July 1, featured prominently.

It was at the end of the eight hour robust exchange of ideas that Stuart, who chaired the televised meeting, repeated an earlier position that the unions were reneging on a promise made at a meeting on June 23 to give Government until September 30 to assess the success of the NSRL.

The leaders of the island’s four major trade unions – the Barbados Workers’ Union (BUT), the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) – had taken umbrage to the statement when it was first made by Stuart at a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) luncheon on July 23.

Moore today said the Prime Minister “was abusing the privilege of the last speaker with an intent to misrepresent facts”.

The BWU general secretary asserted that Stuart was fully cognizant that as a last speaker, no one would be able to correct the record, yet proceeded to “continue the same callous approach to the concern of the workers, in the full view of public.

“This represented an abuse of privilege where being the last spokesperson, the Prime Minister used the opportunity to raise issues that were not even mentioned in meeting, namely his discussion with the unions and misrepresented a number of things. We have to make it plain that his statement that there is an agreement and a commitment of the unions to giving the NSRL a chance to work for a quarter, is totally untrue. The unions never made such an agreement,” said Moore, whose recollection of the meeting in question was supported by President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union Mary Redman.

Moore stated in no uncertain terms that the tone and tenor of Stuart’s remarks did not auger well for future negotiations, and said the unions would meet to determine the appropriate response.

“It is unfortunate that a live broadcast was used to purport what the public may perceive to be a truth because it came at the end without any chance to rebut. And if coming at the end of today’s exchanges that forms part of the conclusion, it signals to us the kind of approach that will be adopted in addressing a number of other issues and the trade unions therefore will have to reflect on the last half an hour of exaltation that we had to endure along with the rest of Barbados,” Moore said, pointing out that prior to Stuart’s comments there was optimism as a result of a decision to move up discussions on the NSRL from October to later this month.

However, the BWU leader would not state whether or not the labour movement would resume actions to force the administration to accede to their demands for 50 per cent reduction in the NSRL.

“We are going to meet but we are not going to respond in any knee-jerk manner. We will discuss and analyze everything comprehensively and we will be informing our publics as necessary. However, we are confident that the public has received a lot more information that was not available before and we too as trade unions have received a lot more information than we had before. A number of our questions still were not addressed but hopefully the Government better understands what we are asking,” she explained.

19 Responses to BWU: PM’s closing comments erodes gains made at meeting

  1. jrsmith August 12, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Word to ……Toni Moore ……, stand your ground dont play games with this priminister, be careful who you trust , just keep in control in other words watch your back…………..This priminister is upset because he got a bloody nose and he never thought the day will come when the white folk in barbados would organize and march with the black people……………….. Just think if they win power again , the unions would be done for…………Thats why more than ever our people need some protection before the next election………………………………………………………

  2. Patrick August 12, 2017 at 6:22 am


  3. Angela August 12, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I recall from the first time this matter was brought up that the PM said a delegate from the NUPW made a suggestion about waiting till September to see what the NSRL would do to see whether the Government could afford some increase no matter how small it maybe, He repeated it again saying that it was concluded at the last meeting. My question is why don’t the NUPW come out and say whether it was said or not?

    I was watching the broadcast an d I saw that the question asked by MS Moore why the NSRL could not be reduced to 5% was answered by the MOF. The call for the continuous meeting for the month of August was also agreed to. It would be wonderful for someone to set out what gains were eroded.

  4. David Hall August 12, 2017 at 6:49 am

    The gain eroded is trust. If a person is cunning enough to use the advantage of last speaker to assert and present a ‘knowingly contested position’ as truth, it suggest that such a person cannot be fully trusted when even greater things are in question.

  5. Rechelle August 12, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Stand your ground Labour, we are behind you!

  6. Carson C Cadogan August 12, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Toni Moore is the worst General Secretary in the history of the Barbados Workers Union.

    A whole day and she brought nothing creditable or of any value to the table yesterday.

    Only gobbledygook.

  7. Mark Adamson August 12, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Carson C Cadogan,

    It is sickening that there is a General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union who – at that meeting – put forward no explicitly clear, consistent, coherent, integrated, far-reaching and forward-looking alternatives to the ones that the government has been putting in place.

    What is clear is that she, Mary Redman, Pedro Shepherd, and Akanni McDowall are seriously failing in their fundamental duties to this country and are looking around for persons to blame for their own failures to come up with such alternatives that ought to be used by any local social movements and organizations in
    visualizing the further growth and development of this country.

    Trade unions and Trade unionism must go in this country!!

    Persons must evolve from being workers, managers, owners in this country to being PARTOWNERS of the business enterprises in which they function in this country.

    • Jennifer August 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Get real that evolution is and will be just >>>> an idea.

  8. Waiting August 12, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Well, the day that there are no unions I pray for the workers. I will settle for a bad union rather than no union any day. But frankly speaking it is a waste of time that the Private Sector & the Unions speak with the Government for it is plain to see that the PM is taking them for a ride. I am just an observer but it is right there in your face from day one.

    Things are so bad that they are hiding the amount of reserves at present but still employing workers hoping to boost their chances in elections. Self preservation is the name of the game now.

  9. Kevin August 12, 2017 at 11:59 am

    The PM said what he said about giving the NSRL to end of September before this meeting. Why didnt the unions, especially the NUPW, come out before and say if it was true or not. I believe the PM on that particular point.

  10. jrsmith August 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    @,Mark Adams, hail, hail you are the one with the 23 stupid ideas to really sink barbados……..
    @, Carson C C, hail , hail, are you so happy with the fact that our government cannot account for 900 millions dollars from out treasury, only in barbados this could happen and the government still in power………………………………..

  11. Sherlock Holmes. August 12, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    What gains were actually made yesterday? All i saw and heard was a lot of rhetoric, grandstanding and at times downright political inspired speeches that were alien to the matter at hand. These were the same people who claimed they had a lot to say and offer and at the end of the day they are back where they started. These union reps know a few things very well a lot of noise and marching. I have said it time and time again they are very immature in their actions this government has failed especially in the ministry of finance and their solution of taxing their way out of debt is utter nonsense.However yesterday proved to me that the union leaders were not properly prepared and they failed to deliver miserably.

  12. David August 12, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    What will the unions and the private sector do now that there will be no reduction in the NSRL tax; march again? I am waiting with bated breath to see the private sector shut their businesses again and pay workers to march.

  13. A Boyce August 12, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I hope that the Social partnership keeps on the path they are going and not let up. Ms Moore I admired your Frank and clear discussion. Congratulations to the team, only problem is that the Barbadian public is no wiser as to the foreign reserves figure at 10th August 2017.
    It is plain to see that the PM has no intention of listening to or acting on the proposals submitted by the partnership and is adamant about the NSRL whether the electorate is suffering or not, but time will tell.

  14. Milli Watt August 12, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    a very long YYAAAAWWWNNNNNNNN!

  15. Jennifer August 12, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    So whats next after marching????? >>>>>>>>>>> prayer. The only thing we seem to be consistent in doing is nothing. We need to put our MONEY where our mouths are.

  16. jrsmith August 13, 2017 at 6:33 am

    .@, Jennifer , hail, hail , your (10:34) good short shot, what money by whom… All our frighten scared black masses need to do is to to control the politicians , make them accountable if this doesn’t happen we are doomed………………. Marching with the white folks is good but , the priminister is very, very upset …. we are forcing the wrong issues…….. bajans is continuous hiding behind the denial , that our politicians have barbados / people under lock down ,………
    That 20,000 march wasn’t because of the black masses or the trade unions, its because of the white folk need a front because they themselves is effected and would never individually confront
    the government, the question is why ……………….This barbados government could do what they like , when they like and continuously get away with it , without being challenge by anyone two fingers up to everyone…..
    The priminister never taught the day would come to see blacks and white especially the business owners marching with they workers…………………………………..

    What is frightening , if this government gets back in power after the upcoming elections , we are on the way to destruction , the trade unions first will be restricted or banded in barbados , to make up for giving the priminister a bloody nose, that march ……

  17. Camb August 14, 2017 at 10:10 am

    There are some business places that would not give a receipt unless you ask for it…..what is that….Vat ducking…

  18. Lorenzo August 14, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    I heard the hyprocrite the Trini lady on Brasstacks,a show she gets on Talk ya Talk with her DLp moderators and criticize and then has the audacity to call Mr Ellis today.I wonder if she apologize to Jeremy Stephens yet?If not she should be called to account by Mr Stephens to do so.She made a feeble attempt to discredit the Union and the private sector for not bringing clarity to the recent meeting however I thought Ms Moore and Ms Smith and the others were very clear,maybe if she took off her DLP blinkers she would have learned something.


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