BWU wrath

Union calls on members to boycott Cost-U-Less

A major row is developing between the American warehouse club-style store Cost-U-Less and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) that could cost the retailer dearly.

The BWU has called on its members to boycott the general merchandise store, carrying out a threat it made nearly two weeks ago to name and shame businesses it accused of engaging in union busting practices.

In an address to the union’s 76th annual delegates conference at the weekend, General Secretary Toni Moore named Cost-U-Less as one such business, claiming it “entrap workers in a form of modern day slavery” under the full glare of Government.

“The struggle must continue against those who wish to entrap workers in a form of modern day slavery. I think of companies like Cost-U-Less that Government has given every concession under the sun to allow them a platform to do business in Barbados, what do they do in return? They undermine our commitment to provide decent work through union busting tactics that see people losing jobs because they have committed the cardinal sin of becoming a union member,” Moore said.

At a news conference on August 17 to announce the annual conference, Moore had warned that the BWU did not intend to take the union busting attempts by local companies, “one most blatant”, lightly.

At that time she had also said “one company had called in the police three weeks ago after a union representative had made an attempt at engagement.

“Such behaviour provokes militancy by the labour movement,” she suggested at the time.

During her address to the annual conference, she also named Cost-U-Less as that company, while suggesting that Government was doing nothing to rein it it.

“They call the police on [union] officer who go to represent workers who have been unfaired. As recently as Monday gone, the Minister of Labour indicated that she had seen no letter of complaint from the Barbados Workers Union, and she is right. We will submit the appropriate correspondence, but her ministry has knowledge of their refusal to meet to discuss the cases brought by the BWU against Cost-U-Less and nothing is being done to rein them in,” she told delegates and an audience which included Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, Government Senator Patrick Todd, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and other Barbados Labour Party parliamentarians and candidates.

An incensed Moore claimed that the American company was so confident of Government’s support, that during the passage of Tropical Storm Harvey almost two weeks ago, it remained open for four hours past the deadline for closure on the premise that it was facilitating shopping by customers.

As the storm approached Barbados, the Department of Emergency Management announced on August 17 that Government offices would close at 2:30 p.m., while private sector interest were advised to employ a staggered shutdown approach with offices closing at 2:30 p.m.; retail stores at 3:30 p.m. and petrol stations and supermarkets and other essentials by 4:30 p.m.

“They can publicize that they will open four hours beyond the shutdown time to facilitate you. That’s the claim. And some of us unthinkingly go without regard for those other workers in that store who, like many of you, were caught off-guard and who had wanted to go home to safeguard themselves and their families.

“So, we will be calling on our membership to boycott Cost-U-Less. We will be calling on our membership to boycott any other operation where there is such blatant disregard for our system of industrial relation in Barbados,” she said to applause.

Repeated efforts by Barbados TODAY to reach officials from Cost-U-Less proved futile.

Meantime, while President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce (BCCI) Eddy said he had no comment at this time because he was not fully aware of the issue, a BCCI official told Barbados TODAY Cost-U-Less was not a member of the private sector grouping, making it difficult for the body to stay on top of developments there.

However, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said the chamber would monitor the situation carefully.

21 Responses to BWU wrath

  1. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn August 28, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    What happened to the government. You all gone now to cost you less. Some one put a gun to the workers HEAD and tell them that they have to work.

  2. Saga Boy August 29, 2017 at 5:14 am

    This has nothing to do with Government. The Minister was right and the BWU GS agreed. With union membership at an all time low and with the change in lifestyle a boycott will not work. What the union will have to do is to instruct the workers at the ports not to touch good destined to cost u less and it will cost them more. Time to reign in some of these foreign and local employers who continue to disrespect employees. And this includes the BWU.

    • milli watt August 29, 2017 at 9:55 am

      that was the usual move glad somebody observe this CLUNT (FEMALE CLOWN) ain’t going to disturb the port because the business class don’t want no disruption there of any kind.

  3. Harry August 29, 2017 at 7:33 am

    if rumour is correct aren’t some government officials and their cronies “silent” shareholders in Cost u less?

  4. Johnathan August 29, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Toni you have to stand up to Parris and the DLP gang that have always thrived on exploiting people. He and Duprey never allowed the CLICO staff to join a union either. Now that he has Directors from the cabinet he will obviously think he has even more power. You must stop them now….

  5. Johnathan August 29, 2017 at 8:15 am

    @Harry one of the conditions for cost u less coming here was that 51% be owned locally. You have Thimpson wife now owning his share,Parris ,Chris,the king maker and that whole Thompson clique all in bed with the control of staff and treating them like crap.

  6. bk August 29, 2017 at 8:46 am

    lol, you can’t get entities that been here for donkey years to accept you as a bargaining agent for their employees, and you expect to get Cost-U-Less to do so?

  7. Camb August 29, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Cost-u-more is a crying same….firing people left, right and centre..them there in’t easy here….

  8. Camb August 29, 2017 at 9:24 am


  9. Kevin August 29, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Lion and the lamb, lion and the lamb, lion and the lamb….The PM is being vindicated.

    • jennifer August 29, 2017 at 10:11 am

      OK. Some of we just obstinate and willfully blind and pretend we can’t see what he was saying.

  10. Greengiant August 29, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I often wonder what is wrong with some of us Bajans. Why have some of us been educated academically and socially yet we are affected by political affiliations. Why are our union leaders not coming together to march on Cost U Less? Why does the Chamber leader not have enough information to comment? This issue was around long before the N S R L increase, and other economically negative decisions by the government. Cost U Less is a monster created by one and fed by the other. No boycott was called on the Thani Group during the Royal Shop saga, workers who deliver services to Sandy Lane were not called on to withdraw their services to the hotel earlier. So I have to ask these question. What’s the real motive to the method of addressing the issues mentioned here? Where are the alliances formed recently to represent the workers? Is this alliance only reserved for action against the government? If so the union is at the cross roads according to Ms. Redman.

    • jennifer August 29, 2017 at 10:15 am

      “Is this alliance only reserved for action against the government”? YES. All strategy. I tell you the tipping point for this people is coming. Keep watching.

  11. milli watt August 29, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Bynoe did the same thing, no union in his place but the two walk hand in hand to unseat a government. This BWU going take dead aim at a soft target………or so it seems. This is the usual smoke and mirrors this union is use to. Will come to nothing and serves as a distraction to the issue it has not a clue about. @ green giant you on point with the comment.

  12. milli watt August 29, 2017 at 10:01 am


  13. Ossie Moore August 29, 2017 at 10:37 am

    “Wanna talking ’bout Cost u Less. Cost U More but what about Cost U Every Thing “?

  14. Mark my word August 29, 2017 at 10:47 am

    PARASITE: an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.

    A person or company who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives little or nothing in return.

    So we do have Parasite companies here after all what a shame.

  15. Milli Watt August 29, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    we also got parasite unions

  16. Carson C Cadogan August 29, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    This woman is misguided. Cost-u-less operates no different from any other business in Barbados. And the Barbados Workers Union turns a blind eye to practices in these other businesses.

    The slight difference is the fact that Cost-u-less was introduced to Barbados during the regime of the Democratic Labour Party. We all know the Toni Moore has it in for the DLP, so she is trying to get at the DLP by proxy.

    What we are looking at here is a proxy war.

    She has been given permission by the Barbados private sector headed by Charles Herbert to attack Cost – u – less.

  17. Carson C Cadogan August 29, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Another thing which has the BWU general secretary pissed off is the fact that Cost-u-less didn’t pay its staff to march on 24 July 2017 against the Govt.

  18. The Elephant August 29, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    @BarbadosToday Cost-U-Less is Canadian not American as your article suggest.


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