Rise up!

BWU wants revolution in thinking to drive change

The island’s largest trade union is calling on workers to “rise up” and lead a revolution to drive positive change in the country and strengthen the union’s hands in the struggle for workers’ rights.

However, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore is making it clear what she is proposing is not a violent overthrow of Government but “a revolution of our thinking” in an industrial relations climate that is full of negativity.

“I would want to see our workers rise up a bit more . . . and I use that word cautiously because I am not looking for a revolution in the physical sense of the word. I am wishing for a revolution of our thinking,” Moore told her colleague, Assistant General Secretary Orlando Scott, in an interview recapping 2017, a copy of which was made available to Barbados TODAY.

“That change will not necessarily come by us sitting down hoping that it comes, but we must be active in making sure that we are the change we want to see,” she added, echoing a speech by then American senator, Barrack Obama, after a nominating contest on February 5, 2008, to represent the Democratic party in the United States presidential elections.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time . . . . We are the change that we seek,” Obama had told supporters.

Moore gave notice that the BWU would intensify its fight for pay rises in 2018, as well as its efforts to tackle workplace violence.

She said a common cry at a meeting last month of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) was for salary increases for workers across the region and internationally.

This, the union leader said, was no different to what is transpiring here, where public servants represented by the BWU are demanding a 15 per cent pay rise, while those represented by the National Union of Public Workers want a 23 per cent hike.

“One thing came up [at the ITUC meeting] that is very consistent with what our members are calling for and what members throughout the region are calling for . . . the fact that workers need a pay rise. Our ITUC is really expecting that we would really follow through on its mandate to push for a pay rise for workers,” Moore said.

“All over we are hearing people speaking about a widening of the gap where provision is being made for those at the top to maintain their status, but those in the middle and those at the bottom are the ones who are really suffering. What we are seeing in Barbados is what we are hearing complaints about in other places . . . we are seeing a middle class that has pretty much disappeared and a lower class that is getting larger,” she added.

Moore warned a country as small as Barbados could not afford this level of disparity because of the threat of violence.

“What that breeds is the level of violence
. . . and frustration that we are seeing manifesting itself in so many different forms. In a larger country when people start to vent, you don’t feel it as much as when it is so close and it is right on your doorsteps, sometimes literally,” the trade union leader suggested.

Moore said both the International Labour Organization and the ITUC were concerned about increasing violence in the workplace, something she said was real and rampant here.

However, she explained, the worst form of violence was not physical, but psychological.

“What we are seeing in the organization more widespread is the psychological violence . . . and then we have people that we have to be creating opportunities for them to be counselled. And then these same people are being labelled as either finding excuses or being mad, which adds to the level of mental distress that many are facing,” the BWU boss said.

15 Responses to Rise up!

  1. Adrian Hinds December 30, 2017 at 1:07 am

    How about asking your public sector membership to rise up and be more productive? How about asking your private sector membership to come to terms with the reality of Barbados private sector ownership and the limited role they intend for them to play in their own development and progress? Unions have been failing the workers for a very long time. It seems the idea of using the Union to change the thinking of it’s membership is a foreign concept that the membership must bring about that change themselves.

  2. luther thorne December 30, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Dont be afraid Adrian. The women will make that Revolution happen. Women are in control. Union, Public Sector, Prime Minister, Governor General ;

  3. Carson C Cadogan December 30, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Is she not breaking the Public Order Act with this call for a rebellion????

    • harry turnover December 30, 2017 at 8:49 am

      YOU are the one that is talking bout a REBELLION. I want you to talk about Hal Gollop and Dr.Maria Agard.
      That woman got to pull nuff teet to pay 3 Lawyers.

    • jennifer December 31, 2017 at 7:43 am

      CCC you either in or out. And you sound out.

  4. Samantha Best December 30, 2017 at 6:43 am

    How about rise up against using union dues to run two Mercedes Benz for a waste of time leadership? How about rising up against paying a fat salary for a General Secretary and high consultancy fees for an advisor just to get one job done? I am tired of her non performance and yet she complains about Freuns.

    The union is not functioning and members need to rise up and stop paying dues for an ineffective union.

    How about rising up against a lazy private sector that just sits and awaits handouts? They have not yet moved their thinking to the 21st Century.

    There is definitely a need to rise up against those recently appointed Permanent Secretaries who are there to advise their Ministers and not functioning because they lack the skills, experience and competencies to advise them. Just because they can write five essays in four hours they were appointed or because they paid someone to write a thesis. It’s a shame!!

  5. jennifer December 30, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Toni Moore you got some lovely white teeth in that mouth of yours. Why is it that when you had the chance to rise up you did not??? Oh I know……… You lot are the ones allowing the sheep to get slaughter into various cuts of meat>>>>>>>racks, ribs, shanks, T bone etc for others to eat.

  6. Saga Boy December 30, 2017 at 7:23 am

    That GS needs to check herself. Given the state of the economy she should be taking to her members about their work attitudes and what they can do improve the viability of the respective businesses. Failing that she will not have any members. She needs to find out why so many employees are dropping out the BWU before talking about a revolution. She also needs to tell the people why is it that Sir Roy is still the de facto leader of the BWU while she flies all over the place and he takes care of business in Barbados.

  7. Alex Alleyne December 30, 2017 at 7:45 am

    The problem in Barbados is that “everybody want to work until they get a Job”. These Union leaders do not put it to it’s members that “you must put in an honest day’s work or your day’s pay”.
    I remember one guy (a union member) keep coming to work late and leaving early, when the boss question him about coming late and leaving early, he replied, “JUST DON’T WANT TO BE LATE TWICE IN ONE DAY”.
    See the attitude ………..????????????????????????????????????. He is a UNION MEMBER so he SAFE.

  8. Falernum December 30, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Naughty, naughty Toni – inciting us Bajans to “up de ting” may backfire.

  9. real vexx December 30, 2017 at 10:44 am

    She need to encourage productivity in the public sectors….. All I see is bare sabotage on a daily basis….people doing things to make the government more bad… Them ain’t even say let we make BARBADOS look good. From big heads to basic workers.

  10. luther thorne December 31, 2017 at 1:29 am

    Commented on this. A nice long comment I am pretty sure so where is it ?

  11. luther thorne December 31, 2017 at 1:30 am

    I was mistaken

  12. Tony Webster December 31, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    This country needs not only a ” rising-up” within its union(s), or any one component of our socio-economic whole: it needs an honest, realistic look in the national mirror. It requires nothing short of a catharsis; new thinking; new leadership, across the entire corpus.

    One neither finds, or places, these precious things…in old wine skins. This is the moment our younger leaders must emerge. You see…they have the most to lose…and to gain.

    • jennifer December 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Nice idea TW – But u make it too confined, I don’t blame you. If only it was that simple. Too much currently in a catatonic state.


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