Just a gentleman’s agreement

Whatever breed of animal it may be, the Social Partnership (Government, labour and the private sector) has been governed by various Protocols which, as part of the preamble, speak to “the subjugation of their sectoral interests to the national good….” with the intention to:

“(i) create a modern, efficient economy which is able to produce high and sustainable economic growth accompanied by increased employment and societal well-being;

(ii) to establish through low inflation an equilibrium between prices and incomes;

(iii) to achieve a society which enjoys a greater degree of inclusiveness; and

“(iv) to distribute the benefits of economic growth fairly and equitably.”

Among the Specific Major Objectives were “the national commitment to increased competitiveness through improved productivity and efficiency in the work place” and “the maintenance of an industrial relations environment conducive to a continuation of stable industrial relations. Repetitive and redundant and at the end of the day means nothing.

Clause 2.2 (v) (b) speaks to “the achievement of a balance between prices and incomes, recognizing that demands made upon workers to restrain their proposals for increases in wages and other compensation payments in the interest of making Barbados more competitive, cannot be to the exclusion of those considerations where workers seek to maintain and improve their standards of living, and so must be accompanied by a reciprocal moderation in price increases.”

With the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), the two per cent tax on foreign exchange transactions and God only knows what other taxes we’ve had heaped upon our backs, the Government is the single largest contributor to the rise in the cost of living while asking the labour movement to “restrain proposals for increases.” Mind you, these are the same people who raised their own pay 10 per cent, retroactively (Hint: they lost nothing). Helping them to twist the knife, were some members of the private sector who jacked up prices long before the NSRL even took effect or only restocked the shelves afterwards.

There is also a policy in respect of Incomes which agrees to“general restraint on increases in basic wages and salaries in both the public and private sectors…” in relation to “all pay, including wages and salaries at all organizational levels, allowances, payments in kind, fringe benefits and lump sums. It will also apply to all types of employment, as well as to both full-time and part-time work.”

The recent meeting of the Social Partnership which was televised, provided much food for thought. Let me state clearly that I am not a fan, and the television and radio broadcast has cemented my views. It was a talk shop which provided a platform for more of the same bravado and little to no substance. I also remain mystified as to why the labour movement even bothers with the farce. While it may have worked when it was first established, it most certainly is not working now and at the end of the day, a consultative body decided to further consult…and nothing more.

The Social Partnership is at best a gentlemen’s agreement. It does not have the force of law and none of the three member groups is bound by anything contained in the protocols. From what I saw,  they should invite a fourth group comprised of some actual economists who know about running the economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and particularly Barbados.

Source: (Alicia Archer is an attorney-at-law in private practice)

2 Responses to Just a gentleman’s agreement

  1. Jus me August 19, 2017 at 12:03 am

    A meandering of ditherers,

  2. Jus me August 19, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Just looking at this conglomeration of idiocy,thro normal every day eyes.
    I find it hard to believe it exists at all.
    There is absolutely Zero common.ground.

    In any conditions of inequality, uncertainty, disagreement it is the
    common Ground that forms the foundation,for the beginnings
    of an equitable solution.

    Unions and Government are directly opposed.
    Government and employers view each other and with good reason, with total distrust.
    Employers and Unions view each other, wishing that the other didnt exist,but recognising it must ,out of necessity.

    The Common Ground is missing, empty rhetoric,
    replaces meaningful dialogue.
    Barbados our home,our future, our families future,
    features not at all.
    Unless used as a club to be used simply in a false display of country loyalty by the opposing sides,by illustrating how much they care, compared to how the opposers do not care.

    A Useless perceived scoring of points, and achieving zero,apart from further alienation of the already seriously alienated groups

    Every dog in its manger ,baring its teeth.

    That is the state of Barbados.

    Self interest PARAMOUNT.

    An educated fool leading the country, who we are told, understands the classics, Latin, the Law and has not
    the slightest understanding of those he was elected by and to protect.
    Maybe even more detrimentally,.uses any understand he has of them, to harm them,.retard thier progress in life, while moving himself financially far in advance of any position and quality of life,that they can achieve.
    No matter they are destroying themselves,in their efforts to pay such taxes as he imposes at will.

    These taxes necessary ONLY because of his and his chosen Ministers total INCOMPETENT Governing of our Country.

    Dont place blame on the Unions,they are governing their dominion,correctly and as they were elected and mandated to do.
    PM Stuart would do well to note this.

    Dont place blame on the employers,they simply react to totally massive taxation on them from all directions by the Government.
    Yes of course they increase prices as the understand the new tax,
    Because what they sell for NOW,are the funds, the cash they will have to pay for the Newly Taxed goods as these goods arrive in the port in a few weeks.
    You will shortly see many local businesses bankrupt or closing,many of these will be the ones who didnt place the new taxes on goods and will not have the cash to pay as replacement goods arrive or will have to borrow at huge cost and therefore have to increase Thier prices yet again.

    Only the way.Barbados.has been mis governed,and by whom.we are all WELL AWARE, is TOTALLY TO


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