Page 1

A Publication of the Barbados Workers’ Union Where There Is No Vision The People Perish Vol.13 No. 8 2010

TONY BOWEN Island Inn Caterers

PASTOR DAVID BABB The Sandpiper

VILEEN DENNY Southern Palms MARJORIE BOURNE Southern Palms

CALEB CLARKE The 2010 Hotel and Restaurant Worker of the Year

MICHELLE WORRELL-FORDE Colony Club

See page one

CASVILLE HUNTE Sam Lord’s Castle

JUNE WORRELL-JONES Coral Reef Club The Unionist | 1


CONTENTS

CALEB CLARKE – HOTEL WORKER OF THE YEAR

Editor’s Note Book 2 From the Desk of the General Secretary

4

Social Dialogue Replicated at the Level of the Firm 6 Concern Over Slow Pace by Government

8

69th Annual Conference Resolutions

9

Heather Coward-Downes is a JP

9

Comrade Linda Brooks is Returned as President

10

Twenty-Eight Agreements Concluded A Campaign in Support of Domestic Workers

11

Bringing Domestic Workers Out of the Shadows

13 15

Photo Highlights of the Wellness Seminar, BWU/Colin Norville and Friends Show and the BWU/Scotiabank Calypso Show

18

ILO Conference Adopts New Standard on HIV/AIDS

22

Rhonda Howell on Attachment

24

Discrimination Against Postal Workers

26

Another International Post for Sir Roy

27

Decent Work For All!

27

Praise For Sir David

28

BWU Youth Tackle Stigma and Discrimination

29

BWU Praises Government Move to Ban Smoking

30

Smoke-Free Worksites = Better Health

31

Wellness Workshop 31 Training 32 Fifty-five (55) and Rolling On

33

Paternity Leave Clauses in BWU Agreements

35

Bleak Outlook for Remainder of 2010

35

Solidarity Toastmasters Becomes A Distinguished Club

36

Need for Focus on Young Women 37 TMR Sales & Service Ltd.

40

May Day 2010 Photos

41

Photo Highlights of BWU/Colin Norville and Friends and BWU/Scotiabank Calypso Monarch

42

In Memoriam 44

Comrade Caleb Clarke of Sandy Lane has been adjudged by the Barbados Workers’ Union’s Council of Hotel and Restaurant Workers as “The 2010 Hotel Worker of the Year”. The announcement was made at the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Week at “Solidarity House” on Sunday, 8th August, 2010. On the front cover, Comrade Clarke is presented with his trophy by B.W.U. President General Comrade Linda Brooks. Among the other recipients of awards were Comrades Tony Bowen, (Island Inn Caterers), Casville Hunte, (Sam Lord’s Castle), Joan Worrell Jones, (Coral Reef Club), Marjorie Bourne (Southern Palms), Michelle Worrell-Forde (Colony Club), Vileen Denny (Southern Palms), Pastor David Babb (The Sandpiper), Hubert Bynoe (Fairmont Royal Pavilion), and June Worrell-Jones (Coral Reef Club). The Awards were presented by the Honourable Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism, Barbados Workers’ Union Comrade President General Linda Brooks, and Mr. Austin Husbands of the B.T.A. See front cover

Information concerning this Publication should be addressed to: Bro. Orlando Scott Editor, The Unionist Barbados Workers’ Union, “Solidarity House”, Harmony Hall, St. Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 426-3492/5 ● Fax: (246) 436-6496 Email: bwu@caribsurf.com ● Website: www.bwu.bb.org Photos by Brooks / La Touche Printed by Panagraphix Inc. The Unionist | 1


EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK Orlando Scott, BSS

Senior Assistant General Secretary, Barbados Workers’ Union

E

very year at this time as we prepare for our Annual Delegates’ Conference, we become very reflective as we cast our mind back to the beginnings of the Barbados Workers’ Union. There is no known written evidence to that indicates how the founders of the Union or their followers were, at the time, assessing their future; but there is no doubt that their hopes were mixed with fear and uncertainty. We have reached that conclusion because while it is true that, prior to the formal start of the Union on October 4, 1941, the Barbados Progressive League, the parent body of the Union, was carrying out some of the functions of a trade union – such as building membership through the formation of union divisions as well as handling grievances – the repressive social and economic environment of the day was overpowering and circumstances may not have given the founding fathers of the Union and their followers the pluck to look to the future with hope. Progressive League The leaders of the Progressive League, Grantley Herbert Adams and Hugh Worrell Springer (now Rt. Excellent), who were the founders of the BWU, occupied seats in the House of Assembly - Adams in St. Joseph and Springer, in St. George. They were fully cognisant of the fact that the political arm of the League could make no meaningful political progress in the absence of a massbased organisation that would give them the necessary ground support, so to speak, to 2 | The Unionist

have elected representatives in Parliament. Similarly, the nascent trade union needed political clout in Parliament to advance needed political reform, which could only be achieved through legislation. They obviously saw the political party and trade union working together as twin instruments for change. The fact that the Barbados Workers’ Union has evolved as the bulwark for democracy, individual freedoms as well as the instrument for the advancement of the masses in Barbados and has produced quality leadership for the Labour Movement, at home, regionally and internationally, is a tribute not only to its founding fathers and their followers, but this achievement is a signal honour to those men and women who have sacrificed much to build the movement over the past 69 years. The political and social change, in Barbados over the past seven decades, has been phenomenal. And the Union has earned respect from institutions that might have wished for its demise at the time of its founding. So that when the doors to “Solidarity House” open on Saturday, August 28th for the start of the 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference it will welcome 577 registered delegates and 183 observers. Retired Chief Justice Sir David Simmons will address the Conference and the invited guests will be a mixture of parliamentarians, diplomats, business leaders and union delegates. Such an audience at a trade union gathering in Barbados 60 years ago was unthinkable.


We go further: sixty nine years ago, on the evening of March 28, 1942 when the BWU’s First Annual Delegates’ Conference was held at the fledgling organisation’s modest headquarters at the corner of Nelson and Fairchild streets, Bridgetown, there was no pomp and ceremony. The one-page minutes of that conference revealed an attendance of only 19 people: Grantley H. Adams, President in the Chair, Hilton Coulston, Treasurer, J.T.C. Ramsay, Trustee, Hugh Springer, General Secretary; Cossie Greenidge, McDonald Brathwaite, O. Millington, E. Sandiford, R. Evelyn (Engineers), Gardiner Drakes, R. Oxley, L. Alleyne, B. Clarke, J. Inniss, J. Dawe, F. Als, E. Hackett and G. Bushell (Ships’ Carpenters). Only the Ships’ Carpenters and Engineers’ Divisions were functioning when the Union met for this ground-breaking conference and their commitment to trade unionism came in for high praise from the Treasurer, Hilton Coulston. Human Foibles While each era reflects its peculiarities, there are human foibles that are found in every generation; and it is interesting to note that some of the concerns of 1942 span the decades. Let’s look at some of the examples: Cossie Greenidge, speaking from the floor of the conference deplored “the lack of cooperation” of workers who only came together when there was prospect of “immediate benefit”. Another delegate expressed regret over issues such as disloyalty, “men telling tales to the bosses”; another delegate lamented the fact that some employers were paying “non-members of the Union more money than union members”. One clear similarity is that the delegates to the 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference, like the delegates to the First Conference, are meeting in challenging times. In 1942, World War 11 was at its height. The Axis

Powers – Germany, Italy and Japan – had the Allied Forces on the run. Barbados, like the rest of the West Indies, was rationing food and other supplies. The democratic forces in Barbados – the Barbados Labour Party and the Barbados Workers’ Union – led by Adams and Springer as well as the Congress Party, led by Wynter Algernon Crawford were beginning to forge ahead, bolstered by the work of the Deane Commission and the Royal Commission which investigated the 1937 Disturbances, and the passing of the Trade Union Act, which legitimised the functioning of trade unions. But “democracy” as we understand it, today, was still decades into the future. Job Security Delegates and Observers to the 69th Annual Conference are confronted by a downturn in the global economy, which has led to massive lay-offs and job loss across the nations. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) states that 34 million jobs have been lost as a result of the crisis since it broke in 2008 and 64 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty. Cognisant of the global and local positions, the Barbados Workers’ Union made a purposeful decision to place job security at the centre of its negotiating strategy as the recession continued to impact negatively on both the Public and Private Sectors of the economy. We therefore expect that the economy will loom large as an agenda item at the conference. Delegates will, no doubt, look forward to celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the BWU in the month of October, 2011, and, in so doing, they will, of necessity, reflect on the significant role played by the founding fathers in establishing this important institution which has changed the face of Barbados. ▪

The Unionist | 3


FROM THE DESK OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY Sir Roy Trotman, K.A. General Secretary, Barbados Workers’ Union

DEFENDING WORKERS A

re you by any chance one of those people who feel the only purpose for a trade union’s existence is to get more money for its members? I know many employers think so and therefore oppose workers’ freedom of association. I know too that many professors in management schools teach this as part of their thesis that each graduate needs nothing else for success than his or her graduation from their class. But you! Are you one of those who only see money? For the last twenty years or so there have been many proponents of the view that each man or woman can command whatever he/ she demands in the labour market: the level of wage or salary, the hours of work and times, the level of bonuses, the provision of pension – everything. And it is true that even today there are persons in the labour market who can quote their own terms. Such persons are to be admired. However the rest of us in the labour market must

4 | The Unionist

recognise that these persons are the exception rather than the rule. The man or woman who can lay down his/her terms does so because the person seeking to rent or to buy the service does not have choices. No employer with reasonable business acumen will permit his/her business to be eternally under a condition where he/she has no control over the costs of production of the goods or services which the business is delivering. The conclusion is that the young graduate names his price at the beginning; but with few exceptions he/she finds over time that his/her group is really not an independent, totally self sufficient island of workers. The personal genius remains and is perhaps enhanced; but the individual’s special position relies very much on other labour market factors which are present, are changing and are serving the impact the specialist’s position in one form or another. Prima Donnas It is not unusual to find that these prima donnas are caught in positions of entanglement. Many of them, the world over, end up working to form their own trade union or to become part of one, even if the association is sometimes only as long as their specific need for the occasion. What prompts that decision? In any event this has been a reference to specially gifted persons: gift of special skills, of being the only ones available, things of that sort. The vast majority of us struggle to find jobs in the typical labour market which is


dominated by capital and which yields only to influences exercised by government or by the trade union. Most of us live in that environment. Some may become lucky and discover riches in the informal economy; but the bulk of those who go there often fall prey to operators of similar businesses working in the formal economy. They end up seeking the service of formal trade unions or seeking to set up parallel structures. The answer to the question of why, will definitely show that a simple answer of ‘more money’ will be misleading. A better answer for the operator in the informal economy is the worker’s need for help to find space, a voice, an opportunity to work to provide for his/her family’s immediate needs as well as the hierarchy of developmental needs which we all seek to meet. Equality of Opportunity The trade union movement is nothing if it does not seek to elaborate those needs, first of all, of its immediate memberships, but later as part of its increasingly expanding mission to eradicate poverty within its sphere of influence, to ensure balanced and equity in the labour market, to struggle for justice in the labour market and beyond it in the community as a whole, and, among other things, to fight to ensure that we are all equal before the laws. We know we are equal before God; but we have to ensure that equality before the law extends to equality of opportunity as well as to equality of use of our parks, our beaches, our patrimony. Much of what I have stated here may well be part of what is taken for granted by modern communities. They may not reject trade unions; they may just take them for granted. They may not register the persistent nature of the struggle unless they become intimately involved, or they or a member of their immediate family.

Who, beyond those who suffered the untimely loss of a loved one, will remember to credit the trade union, more especially the Barbados Workers’ Union, for agitating to have the International Labour Organisation (ILO) do the field work that led to safer tractors in agriculture? Nor would they tend to remember the many machines which operated without guards because the monetary returns on the machines were greater, even if a finger, or two, or an arm, or a leg, was sometimes lost. OSH Legislation Today the trade union urges the community to hold fast to the realisation that money can only ease the condition of workplace illness or injury. The trade union recognises the importance of direct negotiations with the employer to provide a more secure work environment. It goes further to lobby Government for the enactment of suitable safety and health at work legislation. Using the BWU as an example, I am able to say that occupational safety and health is a major cross-cutting matter which is introduced into all aspects of the life enhancement work which the Union pursues. This is an integral part of the modern mandate which the Labour Movement has mapped out for itself. The trade union sees this as everybody’s concern. That is one of the reasons why the trade union is baffled that we have had more that fifteen years of planning for a new occupational safety and health at work act and that we are yet to proclaim it. This and many of the other critical roles of the movement will be addressed in subsequent articles. ▪

The labourer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on. The Unionist | 5


SOCIAL DIALOGUE REPLICATED AT THE LEVEL OF THE FIRM

L

abour Minister Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo is of the view that if Barbados is critically looking at “partnership the new way”, then the process of social dialogue that is successful at the national level should be replicated at the level of the firm. Dr. Byer-Suckoo, in her address to the Barbados Workers’ Union’s 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference called on the Social Partners to endeavour to base partnership on “transparency in our enterprises, be willing to share information and create the opportunity for meaningful consultation between employers and employees”. In reference to the Conference theme, “Partnership – the New Way”, Dr. ByerSuckoo said that now may well be the time for the Social Partnership to critically examine itself and map out a path for improvement where necessary. She said that such introspection was a natural process for any dynamic institution. And she pledged that, as Chairman of the Sub-Committee of the Social Partnership, she would be happy to lead such a charge. “Now is the opportune time as work has begun on Protocol V1 to have it ready for next year”, she urged. Dr. Byer-Suckoo commended the initiatives with which the Union was involved which saw, among other things, the employer and employee partnering through performance. She specifically referred to those agreements which placed workforce productivity front and centre. 6 | The Unionist

Labour Minister Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo

The Minister also noted that the Executive Council of the Union had embraced the view expressed that “alone we may go faster; together we will go further!” She said that this belief aptly underscored the fact that strong partnerships formed the foundation for successful implementation of labour policies. A case in point, she said, was the Decent Work Country programme which was being finalised for Barbados with assistance from the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The tripartite constituents have come up with proposals which focused on five priority areas: • strengthening national employment policies; • enhancing competency-based technicaland vocational education and training and life-long learning; • developing a culture of entrepreneurship and strengthening local entrepreneurs to be competitive in existing and new economic activities; • strengthening the capacity of the tripartite partners to contribute to economic and social development and to improve public awareness of their roles and functions; and • promoting policy coherence. Dr. Byer-Suckoo said these areas represented an ambitious undertaking; but she was confident that, through effective collaboration, the tripartite partners would ensure effective implementation of the programme. Turning to legislation, Dr. Byer-Suckoo said that one of her important goals was to ensure that the Decent Work objectives


were achieved through the modernisation of existing labour legislation and introduction of new legislation. She listed those on the cards as: • The Holidays With Pay (Amendment) Act. This will bring clarity to certain aspects of the legislation including the process for calculating average pay and an amended definition of total remuneration to prevent those workers being employed and paid only on a commission basis from being disadvantaged. In addition, the proposed amendment will ensure that a worker is paid for the extra day granted when a public holiday falls within his vacation. • The Employment Rights Bill. This bill will seek to confer employment rights on both employers and employees. Among these rights is the right to a statutory minimum amount of notice of termination and the establishment

of an Employment Rights Tribunal for the determination of issues relating to employment rights. • The Amendment to the Shops Act. This Amendment will, among other things, remove the current restriction of opening hours for those operations classified as shops. Built into the legislation is the requirement for adequate rest breaks and transportation arrangements which take into consideration the needs of the workers in the new proposals • The Safety and Health at Work Regulations are on the front burner and will receive the attention of the Governance Committee of Cabinet in a matter of days. The Minister said that, in all of the foregoing, “the welfare of the worker is paramount, and the sanctity of the Social Partnership is respected”. ▪

The Unionist | 7


CONCERN OVER SLOW PACE BY GOVERNMENT

T

he delay in the finalisation of the Employment Rights Bill, inaction in relation to the Minimum Wage for shop assistants as well as the proposal by the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) to initiate training for laid–off workers are among the issues over which the Barbados Workers’ Union has expressed regret as it prepares for its 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference.

On the question of the minimum wage, the BWU noted that, in its pursuit to improve the conditions of the vulnerable groups in Barbados, it kept the issue of minimum wage in the forefront and repeatedly called on the Government to implement the new minimum wage which was recommended for shop assistants. The BWU has made it very clear that it will not be limited to wages in negotiations but will be seeking wherever possible to improve working conditions. ▪

The BWU regrets the delay of the completion of the Employment Rights Bill particularly as it believes the bill “is even more essential” in light of what it calls the callous dismissal of workers at the Turtle Beach Hotel, without cause, some of them with more that 20 years of service. The BWU is also concerned that the proposal made by the CTUSAB to the Social Partners to initiate a special training programme for laid-off workers in the hotel and construction sectors has not been acted upon The CTUSAB had proposed that rather than use the money from the National Insurance Scheme to pay unemployment benefits while the worker remained at home, the same money could be used to train the workers during the downtime. The worker would not only be trained in his or her area of specialisation but in related areas as well. The result would be a worker who is multi-skilled and able to perform in the modified job environment which may follow the recession. 8 | The Unionist

Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers.


69TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE RESOLUTIONS

A

ppreciation for the national effort made so far to retain jobs and to contain prices will be proclaimed by the Barbados Workers’ Union at its 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference. The Conference Resolution, under the theme “Partnership – the New Way” states that the Union had seen evidence of how the workers of the country as well as those persons seeking employment may have their interest and their welfare advanced in the real economy when the interdependence of all segments of the country is truly recognised. Just Community The resolution stated that, drawing from the salutary impact on our community of our tripartite social consultation processes, the Government, the business community and the workers, through their representatives, shall redouble their efforts to resist any further ravages from the global crisis and shall direct their energies toward building a more just community through tripartite social partnership. And the Resolution is calling on those social organisations, not directly linked to the world of work, among which are the Church, the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) and Non-Governmental Organisations, to be encouraged and supported in their efforts to contribute to the country’s development. The following resolutions will also be debated at the Conference. These are:

• • • • •

“Towards Environmental Protection”; Towards A Cleaner Barbados”; “Decent Work for Domestic Workers”; “Re-Holidays with Pay Act”; and “Safeguarding the Most Vulnerable”.

The Conference will also be calling on the Government of Barbados to take the necessary action to give effect to the following resolutions which were passed at BWU annual delegates’ conferences between the years 2005 and 2009: • 2005 - Persons with Disabilities • 2006 - Working and Living Conditions of Migrants and Human Trafficking – • 2007 - Migration; Energy; Housing; Education, Investment and National Development; Sugar Reform; Mergers and Acquisitions; Partnering Towards a Seamless CSME; Sustainability of Development in Barbados; Regional Travel; Violence at Work. • 2008 – Climate Change and Retirement Benefits • 2009 – Freedom of Association; Managing the Social Dimensions of Migration; Technical and Vocational Education and Training; and Workers with Family Responsibilities. ▪ HEATHER COWARD-DOWNES IS A JP

T

he Unionist congratulates Comrade Heather Downes who was recently appointed as a Justice of the Peace. Comrade Downes, who is a member of the Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union, is the Secretary of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Workers. She is employed at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion and is popularly known in the entertainment circles as “Big Heather”. She has been a competitor in the annual BWU/Scotiabank Calypso Contests. ▪ The Unionist | 9


COMRADE LINDA BROOKS IS RETURNED AS PRESIDENT GENERAL

C

omradeLinda Brooks has been returned unopposed as President General of the Barbados Workers’ Union and will preside at the 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference which will be held at “Solidarity House” on Saturday, August 28 and Saturday, September 4, 2010. Comrade Brooks was elected to the post of President General in 2008, thus becoming the first woman to hold that post. She follows in the footsteps of Rt. Excellent Sir Grantley Herbert Adams, first Premier of Barbados and Prime Minister of the Federation of the West Indies (1958-1962), who was elected as the first President General of the BWU in 1941.

The Treasurer Comrade Washbrook Bayne has also been returned without opposition. This is however not the case for the three posts of Vice President. The incumbents Comrades Byron Jackman, Neville Kirton and Carol Boyce are being challenged by Comrades Victor Alleyne, Joel Barrow, Madeleine Blenman and Shawn Knight. The delegates who will be contesting the eighteen seats on the Executive Council, are: Comrades Edwin Adams, Joel Barrow, Beverley Beckles, Mervyn Blackman, Madeleine Blenman, Carol Boyce, John Boyce, Henson Brathwaite, Wesley Chase, Anthony Clarke, Heather Coward Downes, D. Fenty, Jeffrey Grant, Margarita Greaves, Howard Griffith, Milton Griffith, Edward Herbert, Carlton Hope, Shawn Knight, Kim Lascelles, Glendine Lewis, Kirk Marville, Basil Maughan, Gregory Maughn, Denese Morgan, Kim Moseley, Jacqueline Philips, Alphonza Pollard, Ann P. Roach, Desmond Roach, and Winston Roach. Some 577 delegates and 183 observers have registered to attend the Conference. ▪

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life

10 | The Unionist


TWENTY-EIGHT AGREEMENTS CONCLUDED

T

wenty-eight collective agreements were settled by the Barbados Workers’ Union since the convening of the 68th Annual Delegates’ Conference on Saturday, August 28 and Saturday, September 5, 2009.

increases from 6% in the first year and 4% in the second year to 2.5%. In the meantime, the Union is negotiating collective agreements with thirty-four companies, which include the Hotels and Catering Group, C.O. Williams Construction, Caribbean Aircraft Handling, Chefette Restaurants Limited, Arawak Cement Company Limited, McEnearney Quality Incorporated, CARDI and Bayview Hospital. New Proposals

These collective agreements were negotiated on the behalf of a range of Union divisions, including large groups such as the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOC), Courts Barbados Limited, DaCosta Mannings Incorporated, Simpson Motors, Roberts Manufacturing Company Limited, Kentucky Fried Chicken Limited, WIBISCO Limited, Supercentre Limited, Barbados Port Incorporated and FirstCaribbean International Bank. Agreements were also concluded on behalf of smaller divisions in the Union, such as Carib Rehab Limited, Barbados Police Cooperative Credit Union Limited and Worthing Secured.

New proposals have been submitted by the Union to 12 companies and organisations to revise their collective agreements. These include the Caribbean Examination’s Council (Principal staff), Coach House, ESSCO (weekly and monthly), Hanschell Inniss – Commission Agents, Intercon Security, Pavements and Foundations Limited, Pre-Mix and Pre-Cast, Playfair Limited, SNS Investments, Prestige Holdings Limited (TGI Fridays), Ready Mix Limited, Steve Building Works’ Limited and Stokes and Bynoe – Commission Agents.

First Agreements

The Report of the Executive Council, which will be laid at the forthcoming 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference, stated that the Union had made a deliberate decision to place job security at the centre of its organising and negotiating strategy as the recession continued to impact negatively on both the Public Sector and the Private Sector of the economy. The Union anticipates difficult times for the remainder of 2010, based on the uncertainty in the US and other international markets. The Report stated that “negotiations for the period were conducted against this bleak background and its accompanying gloomy forecast”.

The “first agreements” were finalised during the same period with Worthing Secured Incorporated and Carib Rehab Limited. The majority of the collective agreements will run for two years, but a number of three-year agreements have also been finalised. The latter were negotiated between the Union and the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited, Barbados Lumber Company Limited, Barbados Port Incorporated, First Caribbean International Bank Limited, Kentucky Fried Chicken and West Indies Rum Distilleries Limited. The agreements concluded during the past year ranged in terms of percentage pay

Job Security

The Report added the Union would continue to fight vigorously for the protection of the rights of the workers in spite of the economic and financial difficulties. ▪ The Unionist | 11


12 | The Unionist


A CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF DOMESTIC WORKERS

T

he Barbados Workers’ Union will be seeking support for a national campaign to rally the entire nation of Barbados behind the effort to protect domestic workers. Efforts aimed at bringing dignity, respect and proper working conditions for domestic workers have already begun at the level of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) by BWU General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman, who is Chairman of the Workers’ Group at the ILO. Vulnerable Groups Sir Roy has reported that he was pleased to hear the Minister of Labour, Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo, on the floor of the ILO Conference on June 16 2010, give the Barbados Government’s assurance that the concerns of domestic workers – which he listed as among the most vulnerable groups – would receive urgent championship from the Government. The Minister, according to Sir Roy, was giving early support to the ILO’s effort to develop an ILO standard to provide for better treatment of domestic workers. The standard is to take the form of a Convention supported by a Recommendation. The main objective of this new ILO instrument is to give back domestic workers their dignity, to transform an exploitative relationship into a legal relationship, according to Luc Demaret, who is responsible

for the “domestic work” portfolio within the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV). In Explaining the need to have a Recommendation, Demaret explained that such an instrument would give governments implementation mechanisms designed to meet the very specific needs of domestic work, such as working hours, leave, housing, etc. The Recommendation will also help guide governments who are prepared to go beyond the minimum rights protected by a Convention. Workers’ Group Demaret stated in the June edition of Union View”, a publication of the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC), that it was clearly thanks to the Workers’ Group in the ILO that the subject of domestic workers had been placed on the agenda of the ILO. In the meantime, Sir Roy has cautioned that past experience of struggle had warned the BWU that a campaign, at securing decent work for domestic workers’ conditions of work, fell neatly at the centre of a number of factors which would serve to perpetuate their marginalisation and exploitation: they are young women and migrants working in an employment relationship that is not covered under legislation in Barbados: apart from legislation on “hours of work”, the mechanisms for getting redress to complaints remain blurred. Sir Roy said that this situation definitely needed correction. He added that the isolation of the work performed by domestic workers also presented a formidable challenge to any organising campaign. “Compounding this”, he said, “is the fear of losing their jobs and, in the case of migrant workers, their visas”. In addition, he said domestic workers work for individual/ The Unionist | 13


private households, were often uneducated and excluded from social coverage”. Sir Roy said that an education programme that brought focus on the rights of domestic workers to organise and to collective bargaining would also inform of the protection under that much anticipated Employment Rights Bill. The Executive Council of the Union will build on the Union’s Gender Equality Committee’s work in the areas of Domestic Violence and Workers’ Family Responsibilities to include Decent Work for Domestic Workers. In addition, the Union has repeated its previous calls for a managed migration policy; a policy that would balance tolerance and fairness for migrants with the protection and rights of the Barbadian public. ▪

14 | The Unionist


Bringing Domestic Workers Out of the Shadows by Toni Moore Senior Assistant General Secretary, BWU

D

omestic work contributes significantly to the socio-economic landscape of countries throughout the globe, affording world leaders, executives, doctors, teachers and families in general to reconcile paid work with household responsibilities. Domestic workers perform the important tasks of cleaning, gardening, chauffeuring, maintenance, caring for children, the elderly and pets while homeowners pursue their careers; yet, in spite of this, they remain in the shadows, undervalued and vulnerable to abuses, long hours, low pay, threats and violence. Marginalisation increases because these workers are typically young, women and migrants who are trapped into a form of domestic servitude which is not regarded as “real work”. In Barbados the virtual absence of official data makes it difficult to ascertain the extent to which some or all of the aforementioned problems are a reality for domestic workers. At the same time, there is no denying the unofficial evidence that, in many cases, lives next door to us.

In June this year, I was pleased to be a part of an opening debate on “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” at the 99th Conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO); it is anticipated that the outcome of this two (2) year discussion would be the adoption of a Convention supported by a Recommendation. I felt proud because our BWU General Secretary, Senator Sir Roy Trotman, in his capacity as Worker ViceChairperson of the ILO Governing Body, led the campaign for the inclusion of this item on the agenda of the ILC. I was further pleased that Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther ByerSuckoo, in her inaugural address to the ILC, committed Barbados’ support for a binding instrument that would address the working conditions of domestic workers. Over the years, the Barbados Workers’ Union has advocated for improved conditions for domestic workers and migrants. Respective Executive Councils have recognised the need for enhancing social value for those excluded and marginalised groups in our society and have made this a foremost objective in an ongoing movement to achieve social justice and decent work for all. However, it goes without saying that if Barbados is to fulfil its obligation to the ILO that there must first be the acceptance that the Domestic Employees Act (Chapter 344, 1961) is inadequate with its limited focus on “Hours of Work”. However, of far greater importance would be the need for an explicit willingness and commitment The Unionist | 15


from all stakeholders to have legislation enacted that would bring visibility to, and protection for, domestic workers that are no less than that afforded to other categories of workers. Legislation should specifically address an expanded definition of domestic work to include that which is performed in and for households. The Minister of Labour, may also need to enforce section 3A of the current legislation (Chapter 344) by prescribing a minimum wage payable to domestic employees; in addition, legislation should permit the Labour Department to conduct inspections where domestic workers are employed to ensure that there is compliance with conditions such as overtime, rest

16 | The Unionist

periods, paid annual holiday and social protection coverage. From a trade union perspective, we would accept that the specific, invisible and isolated nature of domestic work would challenge the BWU’s conventional means of organising for better conditions; by the same token we must also recognise that domestic workers are workers too and deserve the same protection as other workers. Therefore any effort would focus heavily on awarenessbuilding campaigns, public discussions and training to get the message across that like other workers domestic workers must be respected and be given a voice; they must be brought out of the shadows. ▪


The Unionist | 17


Chef Derek Went, demonstrating to participants in the Wellness Seminar at the BWU Labour College, how to prepare healthy and appetising dishes. The workshop was supported by the Ministry of Health and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados. (see page 31)

The 2009 Calypso Monarch Red Plastic Bag performs to an appreciative audience at the BWU/Colin Norville Show at “Solidarity House�. RPB is a former BWU Shop Steward.

18 | The Unionist


Neisha, who was acclaimed as the ‘People’s Choice’ at the BWU/Scotiabank Calypso Show, is challenged by Irvine Davis during her presentation.

Shaki-K, the winner of the BWU/ScotiabankCalypso Monarch title on stage at “Solidarity House”.

The Unionist | 19


20 | The Unionist


The Unionist | 21


ILO CONFERENCE ADOPTS NEW STANDARD ON HIV/AIDS

A

new international labour standard on HIV and AIDS, the first international human rights instrument to focus specifically on the issue in the world of work, was adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at the annual conference in Geneva, in June. The new standard was adopted by a vote of 439 to 4; with 11 abstentions by delegates to the International Labour Conference, following two years of intense and constructive debate. The standard is the first internationallysanctioned legal instrument, aimed at strengthening the contribution of the world of work to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. It also contains provisions on potentially life-saving prevention programmes and anti-discrimination measures at national and workplace levels. It emphasises the importance of employment and incomegenerating activities for workers and people living with HIV, particularly in terms of continuing treatment. The Conference also adopted a resolution on its promotion and implementation that invites the ILO Governing Body to allocate greater resources to give effect to the new standard, requesting that a Global Action Plan be established to achieve its widespread implementation and regular reporting from ILO Member States.

22 | The Unionist

Dr. Sophia Kisting, Director of the ILO Programme on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work said that “with this new human rights instrument we can harness the strength of the world of work and optimise workplace interventions to significantly improve access to prevention, treatment, care and support. We cannot do it alone but this standard will, I believe, provide a major contribution to making the dream of an AIDS-free generation a reality”. The new standard is in the form of a Recommendation, one of two types of Labour standards the ILO can adopt. While distinct from a Convention in that it does not require ratification, under Article 19 of the ILO Constitution, a Recommendation must still be communicated to national parliaments and discussed in terms of how it might be implemented through national policies and legislation. The Recommendation augments the existing ILO Code of Practice on HIV/ AIDS and the world of work adopted in 2001. Marginalised Groups As is the case with the majority of ILO standards, its content was subject to the two rounds of discussions at the ILO Conference in 2009 and 2010. During this year’s discussion the draft text of the standard received amendments that strengthened its provisions in a number of areas including gender equality, reproductive health and rights, social protection, occupational health and safety, and measures to address vulnerable and marginalised groups such as transiting and migrant workers. It also covers armed forces and uniformed services. The final instrument is based on the following principles: • the response to HIV and AIDS should be recognised as contributing to the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,


• •

including workers, their families and their dependants; HIV and AIDs should be recognised and treated as a workplace issue, which should be included among the essential elements of the national, regional and international response to the pandemic with full participation of employers’ and workers’ organisations; There should be no discrimination against or stigmatisation of workers, in particular job seekers and job applicants, on the grounds of real or perceived HIV status or the fact that they belong to segments of the population perceived to be of greater risk or more vulnerable to HIV infection; Prevention of all modes of HIV transmission should be a fundamental priority; Workers, their families and their dependants should have access to, and benefit from, prevention, treatment, care and support in relation to HIV and AIDs, and the workplace should play a role in facilitating access to these services;

• Workers’ participation and engagement in the design, implementation and evaluation of national workplace programmes should be recognised and reinforced; • Workers should benefit from programmes to prevent specific risks of occupational transmission of HIV and related transmissible diseases such as tuberculosis; • Workers, their families and their dependants should enjoy protection of their privacy, including confidentiality related to HIV and AIDs, in particular with regard to their own HIV status; • No workers should be required to undertake an HIV test or disclose their HIV status; • Measures to address HIV and AIDS in the world of work should be part of national development policies and programmes, including those related to Labour, education, social protection and health; and • The protection of workers in occupations that are particularly exposed to the risk of HIV transmission. ▪

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker…

The Unionist | 23


RHONDA HOWELL ON ATTACHMENT

I

n order to fulfil the requirements of the Master’s programme in Labour and Employment Relations, offered by the University of the West Indies, I opted to participate in a job attachment at the Barbados Workers’ Union. As a Human Resources (HR) practitioner in the Public Sector, I felt that it was critical that I not only understand the entire negotiation process but also seek to sharpen my negotiation skills. Needless to say, there are some HR practitioners who tend to shy away from negotiations, but I believe that industrial relations is a significant part of human resources management; in fact, they are two sides of the same coin. On the first day of my attachment, I was thrown into the mix of negotiations, one in the Public Sector and the other in the Private Sector. This led to my day starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 10:20 p.m. I must admit that I was warned that it is customary for union officials to work twelve-hour days, however, I did not expect my baptism so early in my assignment. Nevertheless, the experience was rewarding and, admittedly, the after hours are sometimes necessary to accommodate the workers who are unable to meet with union officials until after working time.

24 | The Unionist

Concepts My desire to grasp and master the concepts in the negotiation process arose after participating in the Collective Bargaining and Dispute Resolution Module in the Master’s Programme which is delivered by Comrade Robert “Bobby” Morris. Although it was intensive, the students have benefitted tremendously. Among the assignments was the opportunity to participate in a simulation in which we had to negotiate a new collective agreement for a company. The students in the class were divided into two groups, union officials and management. This provided the opportunity for us to negotiate and have discussions, which were sometimes heated, but after three sessions, we were finally able to arrive at a settlement. The Barbados Workers’ Union is, indeed, a very dynamic organisation and an ideal learning ground for students who are interested in a career in industrial relations. The first-hand experiences are beyond any information that you can read in a text book or even receive in a lecture by a specialist in that field. For persons who are in the HR field, the opportunity to see things from the other sides’ point of view and to walk in their shoes is a temptation that I simply could not resist. Let me hasten to add that not all labour-management relations are confrontational. There are occasions where organised labour and management can work together in “partnership” not only as a benefit to the company but also in the interest of employees. This augurs well for the continued advancement of our ‘voluntary’ system of industrial relations in Barbados.


In conclusion, I wish to thank the Executive Council, the General Secretary and staff of the Barbados Workers’ Union, the University of the West Indies and the Board of Directors at the Barbados Vocational

Training Board for affording me such a wonderful opportunity. I can certainly say that I now have a deeper appreciation of the collective bargaining process. In my humble opinion, my journey has just begun. â–Ş

Leaders influence the character of their followers.

The Unionist | 25


DISCRIMINATION AGAINST POSTAL WORKERS

T

he Barbados Workers’ Union is claiming that the postal worker in Barbados is being discriminated against, since the postal worker is the only public servant who is required to provide the major tools for his or her job. And the General Secretary of the BWU, Sir Roy Trotman has raised the question as to who has the legal and moral responsibility for the purchase, ownership and maintenance of motor cycles. Debate Sir Roy says the Union is looking forward to a thoughtful debate on the issue and hopes that the forthcoming 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference will empower the Union’s Executive Council to pursue the

demands for Government to take ownership for postmen and post women motor bikes and cycles. Sir Roy has said that the challenges under which postmen and post women have to carry out their duties is a source of worry for them as well as for the Barbados Workers’ Union. He said stories have stretched from reports of offensive householders to equally offensive unchained dogs; from unsuitable buildings to inferior letter bags for postmen and post women; from their inability to gain permanent status to loss of their means of carrying out their daily work. Thefts

These Postmen are forced to work without their “bikes”

26 | The Unionist

Among the foregoing, Sir Roy has focusssed on the spate of thefts of motorcycles which have had harsh effects on some postmen and post women. And Sir Roy has applauded these workers for taking the awareness building response of having all the colleagues take the course of delivery of mail on foot. He says that every member of the public wants his or her mail on the same day it was posted; the delivery of mail on foot underscores the point that it is criminal in more ways that one for the postmen’s cycles to be stolen at all and, especially, when they are on the job of serving the public. ▪


ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL POST FOR SIR ROY

T

he General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Senator Sir Roy Trotman has been elected as Vice Chairman of the Caribbean Canada Emerging Leaders Development Project. The project has replaced the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which had been in existent since 1956. A Canadian is the Chairman of the Project and the other Vice-Chairman is from the Government of Bermuda.

to identify young leaders and provide them with training. The follow-up study programme is under the patronage of the Princess Royal Princess Anne. The programme for the Western Hemisphere includes Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean and will involve 150 participants. These potentials leaders will be exposed to leadership experiences in Canada first and then they will be brought to this Region for a Caribbean experience that includes Barbados. The one-year programme will culminate in Barbados in June 2011 and the closing conference will be addressed by the Patron and the participants will be expected to report on what they learnt during the exercise.

Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh was the Patron of the scheme and it was designed

“Solidarity House”, the headquarters of the Barbados Workers’ Union, is the home of the local secretariat. ▪

DECENT WORK FOR ALL!

The Union has noted with satisfaction that its global umbrella body, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) had embraced most of the Union’s claims in its conference theme for its World Congress which was held in Vancouver, Canada, June 21-25, 2010. The overall thrust of the conference was captured in the theme, “From the Crisis to Global Justice”.

“D

ecent Work For All” is among a number of priorities which the Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union is calling on its forthcoming 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference to adopt. The other priorities are: Labour Market Justice and Equality; Quality Public Services; Education and health for All; Regulated Finance; A Sustainable Low Carbon Future; and A New Development Model.

The Union wishes members to note that workers’ concerns expressed in Vancouver in June 2010 were essentially the same as those ventilated in Bridgetown before and after the ITUC Congress. The major preoccupation here, as was there, is how to organise meaningful responses to our challenges and how to strike strategic alliances in the national and regional interests. ▪

The Unionist | 27


PRAISE FOR SIR DAVID

R

ecently retired Chief Justice of Barbados, Sir David Simmons has been lauded by the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union and President of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), Sir Roy Trotman for “his action in removing labour legislation from the cobwebs on the shelves to the present living, lively dynamics of the labour market of the Twenty-First Century”. Sir David has also been praised for “reducing to writing those judgments which gave life to the legislation, and thus gave an anchor to the otherwise despairing worker”. Beacon Sir Roy, in a letter to Sir David, who will deliver the keynote address at the BWU’s 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference at “Solidarity House” on Saturday, August 28, expressed the hope that the precedents set by Sir David’s judgments would act as a beacon in guiding our jurisprudence and in moderating labour market interaction. The letter reads in part: “ I thought it best to wait until your official retirement to convey my personal appreciation as well as that of the Barbados Workers’ Union and indeed the entire family of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Association of Barbados.

28 | The Unionist

“You pledged of the Labour Movement, including the Police, Prison Officers and Fire Officers’ Association, an even and respectful hand in addressing Labour issues. That was on October 4, 1994. As Attorney General you honoured that pledge. “Sir, you brought that measured approach and evenhandedness to your elevated position on the Bench. My colleagues and I will always be grateful for your action in removing labour legislation from the cobwebs on the shelves to the present living, lively dynamics of the labour market of the Twenty-First Century. “Please be assured of our lasting good wishes to yourself as well as to your soul partner, Lady Simmons”. Sir David, in reply, to Sir Roy, stated that he was “deeply moved by the generosity of the sentiments you expressed in the letter. Quite simply, however, I merely tried to be faithful to the oath of office which I subscribed on appointment as Chief Justice and to the provisions of the Constitution. If, in the discharge of my responsibilities I was able to assist in the development of our jurisprudence, I was content to be a mere cog in the machinery of justice. “My wife has asked me to thank you also for the kind wishes tendered to her “I shall always treasure the excellent relationship I had with you when I was Attorney-General. I think that it was characterised by approaches free from rancour. “May I wish you and your family continued good health and every blessing that may be bestowed by the Almighty”. ▪


BWU YOUTH TACKLE STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION

A

group of sixteen (16) young trade unionists from the Barbados Workers’ Union spent the week of 21 – 25 June 2010, examining the issues associated with HIV/AIDS. The group consisted of members drawn from a cross section of the Union’s membership, including the Transport Board. Some of the topics on the programme included: HIV/ AIDS: The Facts, HIV/AIDS and Drugs, HIV/AIDS: A Health and Safety Concern At the Workplace, and Eliminating Stigma and Discrimination, to name a few. The participants recognised the importance of a Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS and determined that they would collaborate with the sjoint Safety and Health Committees at their workplaces to treat that issue and others, at the Collective Bargaining table. They identified the use of the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Text Messaging, and Community Theatre as

other means to get HIV/AIDS information to the youth. The creativity of the group was demonstrated when they developed and performed a skit on Stigma and Discrimination. At the end of the seminar, the participants acknowledged that they had learnt much regarding the current situation on HIV/AIDS in Barbados and that that information they received would influence their own behaviours. They pledged to become advocates for trade union education and for building awareness on HIV/AIDS

among their peers both at work and in the community. They also agreed to keep the group together and to use drama to reach out to young workers on matters which affected them. The Barbados Workers’ Union is pleased, to have this cadre of young artistes who are enthusiastic about using their skills to assist the Union in sharing information and in creating a safe and healthy working environment. ▪

The Unionist | 29


BWU PRAISES GOVERNMENT’S MOVE TO BAN SMOKING

T

he Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) has praised Government’s move to ban the smoking of tobacco products in public places, effective 1st October, 2010.

There is much evidence to substantiate the claims by proponents of the ban that cigarette smoking can cause serious health problems and even death. Two of the physicians who attended the meeting, Professor Trevor Hassell, Chairman of the Commission for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases and Professor Timothy Roach addressed the health impacts of cigarette smoking.

Health Minister the Honourable Donville Inniss made the announcement at a recent meeting attended by the medical practitioners, employees, trade unionists, civil servants and NGOs. The banning of smoking in public places in Barbados has been an issue for the Barbados Workers’ Union for some time now. This concern received wider public attention when a resolution on the same was moved by a member of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Workers at the Union’s 67th Annual Delegates’ Conference. Workers in the Hospitality Sector have been particularly outspoken on the matter of the smoking of tobacco products in public places, since they suffer the consequences of side stream smoke, exhaled by smokers in bars. Housekeeping staff in the Hospitality Sector are also affected since they have to clean rooms and handle cigarette butts and ash. 30 | The Unionist

Orlando Scott, the BWU’s representative on the Commission for Chronic NonCommunicable Diseases welcomed the ban; and supported the Ministry’s proposal to launch a national public relations programme to inform Barbadians and visitors alike on the legislation. ▪


SMOKE-FREE WORKSITES = BETTER HEALTH

T

he record shows that the implementation of smoke-free workplaces leads to better health. According to the July-September 2010 edition of HAZARDS Magazine, there were fewer hospital admissions for heart attacks in England in the year after July 2007, when the smoking ban came in, a major study suggests. The study reveals that after the implementation of smoke-free legislation there was a statistically significant drop of 2.4 per cent in the number of emergency admissions for myocardial infarction. This implies that just over 1 200 emergency admissions for myocardial infarction were prevented over a 12-month period. The fall was not as pronounced as those observed in studies of bans introduced elsewhere.

Comrade Neville Kirton, Chairman of the Barbados Workers’ Union’s Safety and Health Committee.

From October 1, 2010, smoking will be illegal in public places in Barbados, and Comrade Neville Kirton, Chairman of the Barbados Workers’ Union’s Safety and Health Committee, is hoping that Barbados would experience even greater success than had been attained in England and elsewhere. Comrade Kirton, who is a Vice President of the BWU and a bus operator at the Transport Board, is of the view that the ban on smoking would lead to healthier workers and also lead to the reduction of discomfort and ill health among the workforce, especially among workers who are employed in bars, night clubs, restaurants and shops, where smoking may be a common pastime. Michelle Sims and others. Short term impact of smoke-free legislation in England: retrospective analysis of hospital admissions for myocardial infarction, BMJ Online first, June 2010. www.bmj.com ▪

WELLNESS WORKSHOP

T

hirty-four members of joint safety and health committees representing the Transport Board, National Conservation Commission, Port Authority Inc., Barbados Water Authority and Supercentre Limited convened at the BWU Labour College from June 29 to July 1, at a workshop, entitled “BWU on the Move for Wellness”, to map out a wellness strategy for their respective workplaces. During the workshop, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Health’s Health Promotion Unit and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados Inc., the participants heard presentations on topics ranging from “Preventative Measures and Physical Signs of Stroke” (Dr. David Corbin), “Stroke Rehabilitation” (Dr. Wendy Maynard), “What are Chronic-non Communicable Diseases and how they can be prevented”, The Unionist | 31


(Dr. Karen Broome), “Heart Health” (Dr. Winston Batson), “Improving Nutrition Choices: Food Based Dietary Guidelines” (Brian Payne) to “Health Seeking Behaviour” (Laronne Hyland) and “What is Wellness and Components of a Wellness Programme (Denise Carter-Taylor). The participants were also instructed on how to conduct physical activities at their respective workplaces. On the final day, workers, representing each work place, were asked to prepare a wellness programme for their respective companies and their outcomes included nutrition programmes, aerobic sessions, and nature walks. The Ministry of Health has scheduled a review workshop for the month of September to hear from the participants in the workshop.▪

TRAINING

L

inesmen and Plant Inspectors from the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited’s Distribution Department commenced a twelve-week computer course at the Barbados Workers’ Union’s (BWU) Computer School on Monday, August 9, 2010. The course, titled: “Fundamentals of Computers” is designed to provide the employees with the skills to keep abreast with technological changes within the Company and the Department.Mr. Wayne Yearwood, Human Resources Manager, Mr. Rohan Seale, Distribution Manager, Ms. Gloria Grant, HRA and Mr. Robert Morris of the BWU were present for the occasion. ▪

The price of wisdom is above pearls The BL&P team pose with Senior Distribution and HR personnel at the BWU’s 12-week training course. Front row from left: David McClean, Wayne Gaskin, Samuel Blades, Charsley Harewood, Pedro Bowen, Henry Padmore and Gloria Grant. Back row from left: Howard Griffith, Rohan Seale, Malcolm Clarke, Rommell Cumberbatch, Vernol Griffith, Adar Legall, Shawn Alleyne, Elwin Blades, Ricky Greaves and Wayne Yearwood.

Mr. Morris chats with workers attending the workshop.

32 | The Unionist


FIFTY-FIVE (55) AND ROLLING ON

“P

assengers travelling to Sam Lord’s Castle via Grantley Adams International Airport are kindly asked to board at Gate Number Twelve (12); do have a safe journey, thank you”. That announcement is among the many you are certain to hear any day you are in the Transport Board’s Fairchild Street Terminal, Bridgetown. The Transport Board will be celebrating its fiftyfifth (55th) Anniversary during this year and that milestone should be cause for celebration by the nation since there are no similar institutions in Barbados, and, indeed, few organisations or institutions in the country, that have reached the 50-year mark. We are hopeful therefore that the achievement would be acknowledged by the Government and people of Barbados, and especially the travelling public since the Board has been making an immense contribution to the social and economic development of our country through the provision of an efficient transport system, which reaches the length and breadth of our island home. Credit should be given to the Board and its staff – past and present. Similarly the Barbados Workers’ Union, the accredited representative of the employees of the Board, should be congratulated for the excellence of its defence of the rights of the workers over the past five decades.

Barbados has been given excellent service by the Transport Board, notwithstanding the many challenges the Board may have encountered over time; and the Board has been of exceptional importance to all grades of workers by providing them with reliable and on-time transport, at affordable cost, thus allowing them to travel to and from work. These include City employees, hotel workers, the workers in the industrial estate, airport and port workers. Incorporated by an Act of Parliament on August 24, 1955, “the Board was given power “to carry goods and passengers by road within the Island”; “to provide, maintain and operate a passenger road transport service”; and “to provide such other amenities and facilities for passengers and other persons making use of the services provided by them as it may appear to them requisite or expedient to provide”. Staff The Board employs a staff of more than 600 people, some of whom are engaged in the traditional 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. office hours; others employees such as operators and ancillary staff are employed on a shift system. It must also be noted that the Transport Board, throughout its history, has remained a stable working environment, helped in no little way by the stabilising influence and efforts of the Barbados Workers’ Union. This has caused it to retain its position as a leader in the socio-economic landscape of the country. As we sing the praises of Management and the Board of Directors, let us not forget The Unionist | 33


to show appreciation to the workers, who are called upon on a daily basis to run the organisation and face the public in rain or sun, through thick and thin. And because of the pivotal role which the Transport Board plays in national development it is important that its staff remain at the cutting edge in relation to training and the delivery of service. Our administrators must continue therefore to exercise prudence in the management of the resources of the organisation and provide workers with sound leadership. This entails, among other things, a comprehensive internal strategic analysis and the implementation of policies and procedures that will provide a wholesome work environment and a comfortable standard of living for its staff. This kind of programming will assist us to consistently deliver the highest level of customer service and satisfaction to users of public transport in Barbados”. Joint Training Joint Transport Board/BWU Labour Collage training and re-training can equip workers for the new Transport Board and develop a company that would result in improved efficiency and increased productivity in its operations, along with harmonious industrial relations. Such approaches would assist in bringing about a reduction in the deficit. There must be efforts aimed at developing synergies at the Board – resulting in the creation of meaningful working relationships. When we develop synergies we are able to respect differences and build on our strengths.

34 | The Unionist

Activities A number of activities have been planned to mark the 55th anniversary and these include the following: • August 15th 2010— Thanksgiving service at the Christ Church Parish Church – 9:00 a.m. • August 19th 2010 – Public lecture On the Role of the Transport Authority – “Solidarity House”, Harmony Hall, St. Michael - 7.30 p.m. • August 24th 2010 - 2nd Generation Transport Board Employee Appreciation Day - Weymouth. • August 29th 2010 - Retirees Scenic Ride to Bath. We should all encourage our children, who, when they are travelling as students on the buses, to show appreciation for the free bus ride which the Government has instituted by not vandalising the buses; not fighting on them; not throwing missiles from them that could cause injury to persons on the street. Students should not destroy neither the seats nor the windows or exhibit any form of violence against those workers employed by the Board. ▪ Remember the engine of our economy relies on the wheels of the Transport Board to take workers to their jobs.

Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that build your house.


Thanks Lest we forget to thank God for the many blessings we have received as department, or as an individual, we offer up to Him a high note of praise. I take this opportunity on behalf of the Committee of Management of the Transport Board Division of the Barbados Workers’ Union and all workers of the said Division to congratulate the Transport Board on its 55th Anniversary and hope for joint success in the future. ▪ PATERNITY LEAVE CLAUSES IN BWU AGREEMENTS Seventeen collective agreements negotiated by the Barbados Workers’ Union include provision for Paternity Leave.

continue to fight vigorously for the protection of the rights of workers in spite of the economic and financial difficulties. The report noted that negotiations for the period were conducted against this bleak background and its accompanying gloomy forecast. And noting that there was little comfort in the knowledge that the economic distress was caused by greed and bad financial regulations in the industrialised world, the Report stated that the way forward “will not result from postures of resignation or bitterness directed against ourselves”. It affirmed that reconstruction would fail if it was individual; it would succeed only where the focus was the entire nation. ▪

The Barbados Workers’ Union has been pursuing a policy of promoting opportunities for employees with family responsibilities to be able to provide their employers with productive work while employers provide decent and developmental programmes that take the work-life balance into consideration. The Union is imploring all of its divisions which do not now enjoy paternity leave provisions in their collective agreements to make it is a priority in their submissions to revise their collective agreement. ▪ BLEAK OUTLOOK FOR REMAINDER OF 2010 The Barbados Workers’ Union is anticipating that the remainder of 2010 is going to be difficult, based on the uncertainty in the United States and the other international markets. But, according to the BWU Executive Council’s Report to the 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference, the Union will The Unionist | 35


SOLIDARITY TOASTMASTERS BECOMES A DISTINGUISHED CLUB

M

embers of the Solidarity Toastmasters’ Club worked hard over the last year to make the Club a Distinguished One. To gain this distinction, the club, among other things, submitted its reports on time, attended Officers’ training in numbers, organised several new members and was honoured with the bestowal of the title of Competent Communicator (CC) to members Cynthia Williams and Eudalie Wickham. The zeal of Solidarity Toastmasters’ Club, under the presidency of Toastmaster (TM) Patricia Bryan, was quite evident, especially in the contests in which it participated. CC Cynthia Williams set the standard by winning the In-house and Area Humorous Speech Contests in March 2 010. She was followed by TM Eudalie Wickham who won the Area Table Topics Contest and TM Eric Goddard who placed third. These two advanced to the Territorial Contest

36 | The Unionist

where TM Goddard placed second and CC Wickham placed third. The Unionist congratulates the Club, particularly those Toastmasters who redoubled their efforts to lengthen the strides of Solidarity. There is evidently no letting up in the Club’s pursuit of excellence, since the members have moved to elect a new and dynamic executive to serve for the next Toastmasters’ year - 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. The officers are: President, TM Colbert Ashby, Vice President Education CC Eudalie Wickham, Vice President, Membership, CC Wilma Clement, VP Public Relations, TM Eric Goddard, Secretary, TM Diana Charles, Treasurer, TM Sonia Moore, and Sergeant-At-Arms, CC Cynthia Williams. Additionally, TM Doreen Deane has been elected to serve all the Clubs at Area 17 Level, in the post of Assistant Area Governor, Public Relations. The Unionist looks forward to a vibrant campaign to advance the Club, promote Toastmasters and to encourage more union members, especially shop stewards and committee members, to join so that they can develop their public speaking and leadership skills. ▪

Wilma Clement (l) at the recent 42nd ITF Congress in Mexico City.

Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gets understanding.


NEED FOR FOCUS ON YOUNG WOMEN

T

here is a need for a particular focus to be placed on the productive capacities of young women, several of whom are single parents and caregivers. Stein Hansen, the UNDP Resident Representative, Barbados, made this call in his address at the launch on International Day of the Youth and the launch of the International Year of the Youth, under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”, at “Solidarity House” on Friday, August 12. Mr. Hansen said that, in the Caribbean, persons aged 15 to 29 years accounted for around 30% of the population. He said that youth, aged 15 to 24 years, comprised between 20-30% of the Region’s labour force and 40 to 60% of the unemployed (World Bank 2003; Pantin 1996). Moreover, levels of female unemployment had tended to be higher than levels of male unemployment across the Region and across categories, indicating the need for a particular focus on supporting the productive capacities of young women, several of whom were single parents and caregivers. Impact on Young People He began his address by quoting from the UN Secretary General who had said that the global economic crisis had had a disproportionate impact on young people; they had lost jobs, struggled to find even low low-wage employment and had seen

access to education curtailed. Mr. Hansen added that the Secretary General also said that as economies slowly began to stabilise, the needs of young people should be paramount. Speaking to an audience which included acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley, Mr. Hansen said that the challenge in accessing to the labour market and educational opportunities also influenced crime rates in our communities. He said that a high number of male high school dropouts had been correlated with a rise in criminal activity including violence, drug use and trafficking. And he added that a study undertaken by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNOFC) and the World Bank in 2007, examined the development costs incurred in this Region due to high incidences of violent, criminal activity. Crime and Violence Noting that the report reinforced the fact that crime and violence are a development issue, Mr. Hansen said the high rates of crime and violence in the Region had both direct effects on economic growth and human welfare in the short-run and longer run effects on economic growth and social development. The estimates suggested that were Jamaica and Haiti to reduce their rates of homicide to the level of Costa Rica, each country would see an increase in its growth rate of 5.4 % annually. Addressing youth violence in particular, Mr. Hansen said that investments in crime reduction needed to be made well before the point of the criminal justice system. He said that several countries such as Jamaica and the Dominican Republic were increasingly investing in approaches aimed at fostering The Unionist | 37


environments that encouraged desirable behavior; integrated citizen security approaches that combined modern methods of policing with prevention interventions from both government and non-governmental organisation; and public health approaches, which focused on modifying risk factors for violent conduct. All these strategies, he said, relied on the engagement and participation of young people in helping to reduce their own risk and creating secure environments in which to develop. Mr. Hansen said that the global economic crisis had also exacerbated youth unemployment and access to labour market opportunities. His view was “all this means that in this Region youth represent a significant risk for poverty and social and economic exclusion”. “But linked to this they therefore also represent a tremendous opportunity for the types of investment and targeted macro-level programming that can increase their opportunity and access, secure their livelihoods and those of future generations, and bring about significant growth and human development,” he added. “Graduate to Unemployment” Mr. Hansen then said that a feature of our education and labour market today “is that young people “graduate to unemployment”. He claimed that with heavy reliance on and investment in tourism at the expense of new, innovative industries, the space in which young people can access real, wage-earning job opportunities is severely restricted. He suggested that active labour market programmes developed as part of the social safety net should seek to link their approaches and content with the current needs of local labour markets, and also with new innovative industries which enjoyed concurrent levels of investment by the State and Private Sector. His thinking

38 | The Unionist

was that the existing tri-partite approach was an ideal context in which to address these issues. Mr. Hansen thought that within this arrangement, the creation of a space for the voices and political and civic participation of young people “is a key ingredient”. He said that their innovative ideas, experience of vulnerability and political action were a much needed part of this process. And he added that the acknowledgement and inclusion of various groups of young people – e.g., young mothers and out-of-school young men and women – were also important to the creation of a competitive, supportive economic environment that supported job creation, economic participation and social inclusion for the youth. Health Turning to the question of health, Mr. Hansen said that sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, low levels of human capital development and violence against women were all risks affecting this age group, often affecting the same groups and individuals simultaneously. “Young women are particularly at risk given the higher incidence of HIV infection among women, the high incidence of intimate partner violence and abuse and gendered relations of power that affect their autonomy in sexual and reproductive decisionmaking”, he said. Stressing that adolescent young women between the ages of 15 and 19 years were twice as likely to be HIV infected as their male counterparts, Mr. Hansen said the importance of encouraging peaceful dialogue during this year’s International Year of Youth therefore became clear, particularly when we see peace not just as the absence of crime and violence threat, but also as the reinforcement of good health and wellbeing.


Poverty and Exclusion “Our aim should be to reduce the social and economic exclusion that increase these risks and to support our young people in undertaking behaviours and actions that improve their health, security and political and economic participation”. His view was

that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, to which the Caribbean is committed, provided an opportunity and framework in which to address poverty and exclusion, HIV/AIDS and other challenges, as well as a method for measuring our progress, with only five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the MDGs. ▪

Psalm 90:10 & 12.

The Length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away... Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Do not wear your self out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.

The Unionist | 39


TMR Sales & Service Ltd. TMR.

When most people hear this name they think of a company whose specialty is air-conditioning. But is that all there is to TMR? TMR – Fire and Security alarm systems for the home, business and industrial plant. TMR is the local dealer for FCI Gamewell Fire Alarm systems. FCI Gamewell, a subsidiary of Honeywell, provides fire alarm systems to cover all needs. From simple non-addressable systems with local monitoring only to complex addressable

40 | The Unionist

intelligent systems with remote monitoring capabilities, the team at TMR is capable of designing, installing and maintaining these systems. Similarly, TMR represents the Honeywell line of security systems. We supply systems for the home, business or large commercial or industrial complex; a team of engineers can assess your requirements and provide the service to meet your specific needs. TMR – Electrical contactors and maintenance service providers. At TMR we can design, supply and install your power distribution system to meet any need. If it is quality you require the team at TMR is well equipped to provide this service. TMR – Generators. Do you need a portable generator for your stall? What about a generator for your home with the


convenience of an automatic transfer switch to changeover as soon as the power from the utility goes? Maybe you want a generator for your business, or apartment complex. TMR can size the correct system and offer options depending on your needs. Power generation is our specialty. TMR – Infrared Imaging. Technology to look for the fires BEFORE they happen. We at TMR can use this technology to see “hot spots” in your panel, slack connections at plugs, lights and other termination points. We can also identify leakage of cold air out of, or leakage of hot air into a building. But this is not all. This equipment can “see” temperature differentials across a space to identify hot and cold zones in airconditioning spaces. TMR – Motor, Transformer, Generator & Welding equipment repair. Do you have burnt or damaged electrical apparatus?

TMR caters for large commercial and industrial motors, transformers, generators and welding equipment repair. TMR – Energy Management. TMR is the recognised dealer of the Carrier Comfort Network Building Management System. This system offers energy and building management solutions to the commercial and industrial customer who needs an integrated approach to the management of their air-conditioning, electrical and power systems. TMR – Retail Trade Store. At TMR we have a retail trade store which caters to providing electrical and mechanical items in the fields in which we operate. Visit us in Fontabelle, St. Michael or online at www.tmr.bb Power Up – Cool Down. ▪

MAY DAY 2010

Comrade Kenneth Armstrong is pictured as he sang at the 2010 May Day Thanksgiving Service.

The Heads of the Social Partnership in the vanguard of the May Day 2010 Street Parade. From (l-r) are Mr. Ben Arrindel, Sir Roy Trotman, Labour Minister Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo and BWU President General Linda Brooks. Speeedmaster singing on Saturday May 1, 2010 during the BWU May Day Show at Brown’s Beach

The Unionist | 41


BWU/Colin Norville & Friends Concert Highlights & Calypso BWU/ Scotiabank Concert Highlights

President General Comrade Linda Brooks presents the Mighty Romeo with an award for his contribution to calypso.

Gay Gajadhar received a standing ovation at the BWU/Colin Norville and Friends’ Concert.

Grynner in action at the BWU/Colin Norville and Friends’ Concert.

Comedienne Myrna Squires at the BWU/ Colin Norville and Friends Concert

42 | The Unionist

Bongo remains one of the most entertaining calypsonians.

Big Heather as she appeared at the BWU/ Scotiabank Concert.


The Unionist | 43


In Memoriam

C

omrade Mary Corbin, who died in the month of July at the age of 95 years, was the cornerstone on which the Garment Workers’ Division of the Barbados Workers’ Union was built. It was Comrade Corbin, who, in the early 1950s, with the support of the then General Secretary of the BWU, the late Comrade Frank Walcott (now Rt. Excellent Sir Frank) and trade union stalwart Napoleon “Commissar) Layne, mobilised the garment workers into the ranks of the Union. Starting first with her colleagues at the Elite Shirt Factory, Comrade Corbin then moved to the other factories to unionise garment workers. Comrade Corbin remained steadfastly faithful to the BWU and was a fixture at trade union events, especially those organized by the Retirees’ Group..▪

Professor Rex Nettleford Vice Chancellor Emeritus, University of the West Indies. Dennis Gibbs was a founder member of the Barbados Workers’ Union, and longstanding Treasurer (from 1963 to 1989). Norman Faria His Excellency Norman Faria was the Guyana Honorary Consul to Barbados for the last 16 years. Elsworth Leacock Comrade Elsworth Leacock was an active member of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Division. Anthony Pollard Comrade Anthony Pollard was an effective shop steward at the Insurance Corporation of Barbados (ICBL).

44 | The Unionist

The late Comrade Mary Corbin is wheeled into the Hugh Springer Auditorium, “Solidarity House” by Comrade Ulric Sealey, Head of BWU Labour College.

James Franklyn Comrade James Franklyn was a militant shop steward at West Indies Rum Refinery Limited before he was made redundant. Michael Lewis Member of Staff, Barbados Workers’ Union . Charles John Paul Former shop steward, Humphrey’s Bakery. Glenroy Bannister Member, National Housing Corporation. Cyril Anthony “Tony” Atkins Member, Barbados Port Inc.


The Unionist - August  

The UNIONIST is a publication of the Barbados Workers' Union.

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you