Private sector not on board with strike

The business community is not pleased that the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is embarking on industrial action at this time, and is appealing to the union and Government to urgently return to the negotiating table.

Following a meeting today with members of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Senior Vice President Edward Clarke told Barbados TODAY business leaders had express their concern about the possible impact of a strike on the already fragile economy.

“Our position is that we don’t like to see industrial action. The chamber would hope that the two sides would try and get back together as quickly as possible and come to a quick resolution, especially at this time when the Barbados economy cannot afford any loss of productivity and any industrial action in the peak of the tourism season. This is the time we are supposed to be earning as much foreign exchange as possible,” Clarke said.

“So we urge both sides to sit back down and try and get the matters resolved and let this country move forward.”

In a brief statement today, the NUPW did not give details of the planned industrial action but announced that it would call out members for “two days of protest and resistance” beginning tomorrow.

Clarke said given the scarcity of details, the business community was not sure what measure should be put in place or what the likely impact would be on business. However, he said BCCI members had decided that if transportation were affected they would put alternative arrangements in place for employees.

“We are not sure what impact there is going to be other than throughout the whole civil service, so we have to try and make alternative arrangements. But it is a pity that it is at this critical time when the country should be trying to be more productive and earn foreign exchange. We need to ensure that both parties get back together and come to a quick resolution of the problem and come to some agreement,” Clarke insisted.

When the NUPW, together with the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union, the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Workers Union staged a protest on July 25 last year in a bid to press Government to compromise on the unpopular National Social Responsibility Levy, several businesses in Bridgetown shut their doors temporarily to allow their workers to participate in the march.

However, the BCCI did not give the organizers its full support, and Eddy Abed, the BCCI president, kept his business open.

However, the umbrella Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) had given its full backing and helped to organize the march, which attracted an estimated 20,000 Barbadians.

Today, BPSA Chairman Charles Herbert said the private sector “don’t like strikes”, even as he steered clear of casting blame.

Charles Herbert and Edward Clarke

“I can just imagine most businesses will try to stay open, but we are going to have to react to whatever we find happen over the two days. It is hard to say what will happen when they are not giving us detail.

“There is not much more we can say except that we don’t want a strike, we don’t like strikes and it is not good for the economy. But that is not to say who is to be blamed for the strike,” Herbert told Barbados TODAY.

The NUPW has been pressuring Government for a 23 per cent wage hike for public servants, arguing that they have not been given a pay increase in almost a decade despite the constant rise in the cost of living.

Last month the NUPW rejected a $49 million one-time pay offer from the Freundel Stuart administration, saying it would accept $60 million instead.

The union had given Government a January 15 deadline to complete the protracted talks.

17 Responses to Private sector not on board with strike

  1. Ras Small
    Ras Small January 17, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    $hocking!!! Were not orders handed down or wasn’t part of UR directive.

  2. Nicholas Mackie
    Nicholas Mackie January 17, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    How can striking help the situation ?

  3. Saga Boy January 18, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Interesting turn around by the private sector. Common sense has finally prevailed. The BWU that was once the leader among trade unions is now being lead by the NUPW whose President is an inexperienced boyish individual with a political agenda supported by the BLP.

    He does not have the support of the majority of the NUPW members. He wants to shut the country down for political gains. He does not have the interest of his members at heart because he wants to force gov to lay off the same members.

    Boy that marriage between the Private Sector and the unions was a real quickie. Somebody may have been scr…w..ed big time.

  4. Kathy January 18, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Well I guess Akanni did not get his orders right this time. Young man what you are trying to do is a disgrace. Stop trying to fight other people’s battle. Now you see that last year you had a marraige of convenience. Your mother never told you that cannot make deals with the devil.

  5. Mary. January 18, 2018 at 6:41 am

    I very much agree
    with what Kathy,Saga boy and Nicholas Mackie said!!

  6. Freeagent January 18, 2018 at 7:47 am

    So the private sector was quick to join the march last year but it is not quick to embrace the strike action this year. Interesting.

  7. harry turnover January 18, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Why some people are comparing a MARCH with a STRIKE is mind boggling.

  8. Rechelle January 18, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Keep the fire under their feet Akanni. I support your action 1000%.

  9. Falernum January 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

    This strike is nothing short of economic terrorism, and the NUPW should have it’s license revoked until the action’s legality is settled. That’s how a country in such distress should be led . . . lose the lenses of partisanship and admitted injustice of slavery and see reason. A wage increase with devalued dollars has no winners !!!

  10. Sue Donym January 18, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Okay, BPSA, are you willing to put some pressure – in a way that you are confident will work – to get the negotiations working? You’ve stated that it’s important to you and to the country, so what are your suggestions?

  11. Adrian Hinds January 18, 2018 at 11:01 am

    More politics. The private sector had not fear well in the minds of Barbadians with the last joint strike with the Unions against government; Now it seems they want distance; or is it to give appearances to the same? These “shadows” are not to be trusted. It has always be been their narrow interest first and foremost. I am not fooled by this statement.

  12. Saga Boy January 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Who is it that Herbert represents? Who is it that he consults with before making public pronoucements? How was he elected or appointed to that position?

  13. Ossie Theophilus Moore January 18, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Freedom of speech are you insinuating Mr Saga Boy must be surpressed in this here democratic society ?

  14. MAx January 18, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    What will be the outcome for NUPW? A wage increase followed by job loss? I am wondering where the money for the 23% rate hike is going to come from ? Its interesting to see how detached a group can be given the fact that we are driving through sewage daily because of the incompetence of the govt …… if they cant even fix this due to no money , how would the wage increase be funded ?

  15. Saga Boy January 18, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Ossie T Moore your articulation is a true reflection of your nomenclature.

  16. Committed Bajan January 18, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    When the unions and the private sector were marching in step against the NSRL, I might be wrong, but didn’t the prime minister say that that relationship wouldn’t last?

  17. Ossie Theophilus Moore January 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    You finally got it correct Saga Boy! It’s a new vibration!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *