A Publication of the Barbados Workersâ€™ Union Where There Is No Vision The People Perish Vol.17 No.12 2012
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CONTENTS Editor’s Notebook From the Desk of the General Secretary Minister Byer-Suckoo Praises BWU’s Work May Day Launch BWU Disappointed Over Approach To Almond’s Closure BWU Wants Decent Minimum Wage ILO Hosts Consultation World Day For Safety And Health At Work Violence Against Women In The Workplace Miss BWU Netball Pageant Week of Excellence 2012 An Employee Worthy of Emulating AIDS Foundation Inc Workshop HIV/AIDS Regional Workshop National NCD Commission Barbados Tackles Risk Factor Reduction
A Publication of the Barbados Workers’ Union Where There Is No Vision The People Perish Vol.17 No.12 2012
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:firstname.lastname@example.org • Website:www.bwu.bb.org Photos by Brooks / La Touche Printed by Panagraphix Inc.
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EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK Orlando Scott, BSS Senior Assistant General Secretary, Barbados Workers’ Union The May Day 2012 season, under the theme, “Launching Out” got underway at “Solidarity House”, at a ceremony on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. The speakers included Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security and Sir Roy Trotman, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union. Attending were members of the May Day Planning Committee.
Theme The theme “Launching Out” is an abbreviation of Jesus’ call to his disciples to “launch out into the deep and let down your nets (Luke 5:4)”. The theme is an appeal to Barbadians, the Government, Employers and Workers, to do as the disciples of Jesus did, that is, to take a leap of faith and seek to work creatively to steer the country beyond the mental grip of the recession. We believe that, through our faith and our dogged commitment to making Barbados a better community, we can become an oasis even in this arid economic environment. For more than a decade, the Barbados Workers’ Union has been working with the other Social Partners – Government and the Employers – to plan and execute the May Day celebrations. The Union is particularly pleased with this collaborative effort, since this approach has resulted in the molding of a cohesive planning team, made up of representatives of the Government, the Employers and the Workers. As a consequence, the Union, working in harmony with the other social partners and the several health NGOs, has been able to fashion this unified approach in a global recession, and at a time when, for example, nations like Egypt and Greece, countries with a long and rich history, countries that cradled the so-called civilised world, have been in a state of turmoil for some time.
That we can, as a very small country such as Barbados, with little more than the riches of the elements – the sea, the sun and the sand, be able to sit together around a table, week after week, and agree to disagree, while keeping our eyes focused on the national good, truly makes Barbados a very, very special place in which to live and work. I can state, without any opposing view, that there is no other country in the Region which has a system, such as ours, that allows for representatives of Government, the Employers and the Workers to sit down for six weeks, as we have done, and plan a national mass event without there being any rancour. I am proud to be a Barbadian and proud to be part of that system. While there are imperfections in the system, as there are imperfections in any human system, I believe that our General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman, as a parent of the Barbados Social Partnership, can feel proud in that he has helped to foster a system that works and that works well, in the interest of the national good.
1937 Disturbances I wish to remind the public of Barbados that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the July 26, 1937 Disturbances. The Disturbances, out of which the Barbados Workers’ Union sprung, were a defining period in the history of our country. The political, economic and social changes that ensued, following the disturbances, brought radical change to our country, ripping the country from the iron grip of the oligarchy. Those changes involved the establishment of democratic institutions which have allowed for the participation of the workers and their children in the running of this country and the determination of their destiny. And as we participate in the street parade and celebrations on Brown’s Beach we, in the Barbados Workers’ Union, wish to call on every Barbadian worker to reflect on the sacrifice of those The Unionist
workers who bared their bosoms against the tyranny of the Oligarchy. Additionally, this year, as we have done in the past, we are teaming up with the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, through its Executive Director, Bobbi Mackay in trying to impress Barbadian consumers of the need for them to support Barbadian businesses, particularly Barbadian manufactured goods. The BMA, working under the banner “Our Products, Our Celebration”, has extended its BMEX theme, to include the May Day celebrations. Under this programme, the manufacturers will organise a number of open days when they will invite the public to visit their factories to view the manufacturing process as well as to admire the finished products. Our view, meaning the BMA’s and Labour’s view, is that the consumption of local products helps to keep the wheels of industry at our factories turning and allow for the maintenance of local jobs.
“LAUNCHING OUT” – THE MAY DAY 2012 THEME
The Barbados Workers’ Union 2012 May Day season, under the theme, “Launching Out” started with the outreach to retirees and shut-ins, led by President General Comrade Linda Brooks and General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman on Saturday, April 14 and continued on the following day, Sunday April 15 and Saturday, April 21. Comrade Frank Harrison, 91, was the most senior of the retirees visited by the outreach team. Comrade Harrison, of Blades Hill, in the parish of St. Philip, worked at several plantations in that parish, and served as an outstanding BWU shop steward; he was also a treasurer at St. Mark’s Anglican Church. The outreach team spent more than one hour with Comrade Harrison, listening attentively, as he reminisced on his many decades of work as a BWU shop steward, church steward and credit unionist. He was a delegate to BWU Annual Delegates’ Conferences, during the 1950s through the early 1980s, representing the sugar industry and he was particularly pleased that his decades of service to the Barbados Workers’ Union had not gone unnoticed.
Comrade Marie Hamilton, 80, another outstanding shop steward, who worked in the sugar industry and latterly as an employee of the Sanitation Service Authority, was among the retirees who regaled the outreach team of her working experiences. The BWU’s outreach continued on Heroes’ Day with visits to the geriatric hospitals in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Michael, St. Lucy and St. Philip where teams, comprising members of the BWU’s Executive Council, staff, shop stewards and members of the May Day planning committee, brought cheer to the residents of these institutions. The outreach team interacted with the residents by chatting and praying with them, singing hymns of praise and distributing toiletries. Support for this programme was provided by the Barbados National Bank and the Transport Board. May Day 2012 will formally begin with the holding of the thanksgiving service in the Hugh Springer Auditorium at “Solidarity House”, the headquarters of the BWU on Sunday, April 29. The acting Governor General His Excellency Elliott Belgrave and Mrs. Belgrave will head the list of invitees, who will include Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Opposition, the Judiciary, the Diplomatic Corps as well as Business and Labour leaders. The address will be delivered by Dr. Mark Harewood, Senior Pastor at the Love and Light Ministries. The Royal Barbados Police Force Band, the Excelsior Singers of Barbados and the Christ Church Foundation School Choir will perform the music. STREET PARADE
The highly anticipated May Day street parade and celebrations will be held on Tuesday, May 1. The street parade is scheduled to start at the Garrison Savannah at 9:00 a.m. and continue along the following route – Dalkeith Road, Culloden Road, Pine Road, Tweedside Road, Weymouth, Roebuck Street, Crumpton Street, St. Michael’s Row, Bridge Street, Probyn Street and end on Brown’s Beach/ Bay Street. The companies participating in the street parade will take the opportunity to promote their manufactured products under the theme, “Our Products – Our Celebration”. The health promotion team, comprising representatives from the Ministry
of Health, and the various health NGOs, such as the Diabetes Association, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Barbados Family Planning Association, the AIDS Foundation and the National HIV/AIDS Commission, will use the parade to inform Barbadians of the various approaches they have been making to promote wellness programmes on the island. May Day patrons will also look out in anticipation of the Ministry of Labour’s promotion in the street parade. Over the past three years, the Ministry of Labour’s promotion has won the best group on parade awards, and much is expected of them again in 2012. The May Day planning team is preparing an exciting entertainment card which will comprise some of the best of vintage entertainment and the modern genre, to satisfy the tastes of the May Day patrons.
Patrons are also looking forward to the addresses by the Heads of the Social Partnership. Notwithstanding the effects of the recession, there has been much support from the Government and Private Sector in relation to the planning for May Day 2012, and we are all looking forward to a successful and entertaining May Day programme. “Do not sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.” Proverbs 21:13 “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” Proverbs 21:13
FROM THE DESK OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY Sir Roy Trotman, K.A. General Secretary, Barbados Workers’ Union The following is the speech, delivered by Senator Sir Roy Trotman, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union at the 2012 May Day launch, held at “Solidarity House” on Wednesday, April 18. I wish to thank all of you and anyone who picks up bits of what we are saying via the media. I want to thank you very much indeed for helping the Barbados Workers’ Union and, subsequently, for helping the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados to realise the May Day occasion, as being more than just a day for worker celebration, but rather a day for national thanksgiving and celebration for the value of work to our lives. Particularly in this season where we are experiencing some hardships to do with jobs, we should more readily accept the value and the importance of work; and when we have worked we should experience the importance of endeavouring to improve the quality of that work, and to make sure that we use that work in the best way we can to build our village, our community and our nation. That is what we envisaged some years ago, when we decided that we wanted May Day to be more than a single day, to be more that a single season. We wanted to have May Day to reflect on the importance to all of us, of the oneness of our efforts as a nation to create bigger, better and for more persons. We wanted more levels of inclusiveness and we wanted as many persons, as
we could possibly get, to benefit from the fruits of our togetherness and our cohesiveness. May Day 2012 is an occasion where we think that we have to go even further. That is the reason for our theme, “Launching Out”. The idea behind it from our colleague, Orlando Scott is the idea from the Master himself of launching out into deep, for letting our nets down for a catch. The idea is also, that even though you have toiled all year or for whatever period that you have toiled, and you perceive that you have not caught enough, or in some cases, you have caught nothing, that that should not deter you from the task that is set before you, the task of “launching out” yet again and letting your net down yet again. The idea is of never giving up hope for your brothers and your sisters and for your country, and never giving up hope of building a better community.
DIFFICULTIES The launch of May Day 2012 has to be seen in those terms particularly at this season. The Globe has been experiencing difficulties unprecedented, surely unprecedented in the history in Barbados, and we should not believe that those difficulties have taken over Barbados alone. They are global difficulties brought about by mindless gambling of a few speculators in other parts of the world, but gambling that has taken hold of the entire financial and economic world as we understand it. We have all borne the lash and the back lash from it. What it has done, in many cases, is that it has made us
go into our various economic and social shells. We have sought to retreat into our own cocoons, our private and secretive safety chambers to hide ourselves away from our responsibility and from our fellowman our fellow person. This May Day launch is one where we have to be able to read the signs and understand that we have to move up and onward. We have to move from where we are and build; build even though we may think that there is no reason to do so. I therefore urge those persons who may be giving up hope to “launch out” and to make May Day 2012 an exceptional occasion; we have been doing that significantly in the B.W.U. and we have never stopped doing it. As you look around yourselves in this room you will note that it has been prepared for even such an exercise. We do not only talk about fighting to get more wages. We think that, because sometimes we get wages agreements where people think we ought not to, you may see that. But if you look at this room, you will see it is prepared because the BWU netball players have also decided that they need to have themselves “Launch Out” and to be recognised in their community for the significant contribution which they are making to the lives of our young people, especially the young females. Although netball no longer appears to have the prestige for the socialites and the people who have done better in our social levels in our community, those persons who are members of the Barbados Netball Association, who cater now more so for the working class, are still of the view that the self image of netballers and of young people in that sport can be uplifted. As a consequence, on Saturday evening (April 21) there will be a pageant, where the main participants will be netball players themselves from humble backgrounds, who are going to present to you a package that springs from our idea of launching out.
Training Programmes Also, from that idea of launching out, we have set up training programmes to train the netballers in areas such as ‘conflict resolution’ so that they may better able to interact within their community and on the field of play because we think that sports should make for a better nation, and especially where our young people are concerned, we think that is part of our responsibility to help them. The netballers have brought the idea of the pageant at this time because they accept that they, too, have to Launch Out; launch out to bring other young people in the sport of netball, so that we may build a better community. I would like to thank Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo, the Minister of Labour and Social Security for declaring the May Day season open. I wish also to thank the Permanent Secretary Mr. Andrew Cox and his colleagues as well as the May Day planning committee for establishing that is not only a Barbados Workers’ Union May Day exercise. We have young men and young women, middle aged men and middle aged women, who all believe that May Day is an occasion for us all to help to build a better Barbados. Those other groups that are here present this morning we want you to particularly to understand that the business of nation building does not start and stop at this point of our work; that is an important part. It also has to do with the level our contribution in our community and that is why we had another launch and that was part of the National Initiative for Service Excellence. That is why we join with other communities that help to build the human spirit and we want you on the occasion of May Day 2012 to think more than ever about helping to resuscitate the Barbadian spirit, the spirit that does not give up, that does not surrender. May Day 2012 for me is the time to “Launch Out”
Praises BWU’s Work “Launching Out”, the theme chosen by the Barbados Workers’ Union for May Day 2012, can be applied, to the transformation process which the trade union movement started years ago as it sought, and continues to seek, to empower its members and to encourage them to develop social, economically and politically. This view was expressed on Wednesday, April 18, by Labour Minister Dr. the Honourable Esther ByerSuckoo at the launch of the May Day 2012 season, at BWU headquarters, “Solidarity House”. Speaking before an audience which included the May Day Planning committee, she said that the establishment of our trade unions was a major component of that transformation, particularly with regard to the protection of workers’ rights. “As our societies have developed over the years, the contribution of trade unions to the social and economic development of the Caribbean region has been evident. Here, in Barbados, we are fortunate to have trade unions like the Barbados Workers’ Union which continue to work feverishly to protect the rights of our workers, and which also assist them in enjoying a high quality of life”, she said. COMMENDATIONS
The Labour Minister then reiterated her commendations of 2010, at that year’s May Day launch, and applauded the Barbados Workers’ Union for the work it has undertaken to assist its 8
constituents in attaining certain social amenities through its housing programme, its medical scheme, its credit union and its training programmes at the Labour College in the parish of St. Philip. “I would also wish to highlight the significant work that has been conducted by the BWU in the areas of occupational safety and health, HIV and AIDS, as well as the Union’s response to my Ministry’s invitation to be a member of our very active HIV/ AIDS Core Group”, said Minister Byer-Suckoo. Dr. Byer-Suckoo said the commitment of the Barbados Workers’ Union to its workers was particularly evident in the attention which is placed in the planning of the annual May Day activities. She said it was her understanding that considerable effort had gone into the exercise again this year and it was anticipated that this year’s event would be even greater than that of last year. “As is customary, members of the staff of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Labour Department, the Barbados Vocational Training Board and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council, along with public officers from other Government entities, will be joining the May Day Parade on Tuesday, May 1.
RIGHTS OF THE WORKERS “I am truly looking forward to this event since the theme for the Ministry’s band focuses on the rights of workers and the tenets which have been espoused in the draft Employment Rights Bill”. Describing the Employment Rights Bill as the
“most significant piece of labour legislation in decades”, the Minister said it “aims to address deficits in our laws” and it introduces certain fundamental rights in the employer-employee relationship, and legalises others that are currently only acknowledged by common law. Dr. Byer-Suckoo said: that the legislation had taken so long to reach this stage is to the tribute of a process of tripartite consultation that is peculiar to Barbados. “In particular it is clear that the BWU, the major trade union in the private sector to which this Bill belongs, has been assiduous in ensuring that the position of the worker is uncompromised, while balancing the right of the employer,” she said.
Dr. Byer-Suckoo also announced that the Ministry of Labour had been granted Cabinet approval for the drafting of legislation on anti-discrimination in the workplace, and that the Ministry was expected to be receiving a draft Bill from the office of the Chief Parliamentary Secretary very soon. She added that the stakeholders had been consulted on the 2005 draft Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Bill and that the Union’s comments had been incorporated and sent with Cabinet’s approval to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel so that we should have a Bill for Parliament soon.
May Day Launch Inward Need For National Collaboration
It is abundantly clear in the mind of the leadership of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) that Barbados’ success in emerging from “this unprecedented economic landscape will be based on inward national collaboration”, says the Executive Director of that organisation, Ms. Bobbi McKay. Addressing the 2012 May Day launch at the Barbados Workers’ Union’s (BWU) headquarters, “Solidarity House”, on Wednesday, April 18, Ms. McKay told her audience, which included Labour Minister Dr the Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo and BWU General Secretary, Sir Roy Trotman that the BMA’s appeal for inward national collaboration did “not mean that we shut ourselves off from the external world, but that we realise that our solutions must be locally driven”. She stressed: “That is why partnerships like this one between the BWU and the BMA is so vitally important; we need to forge strategic partnerships with mutually beneficial results. The Union considers the BMA to be one of its main partners for the May Day 2012 celebrations and we (in the BMA) are honoured to be both a part of this launch today and the celebrations on May 1” Ms. McKay emphasised that it was important that “this partnership” extended beyond the May Day parade. And she revealed that this week, the BMA had launched another collaboration, the “BMA/BWU Home Grown Open Days” within the manufacturing sector, whose aim was to afford the general public the opportunity to see local products in production; see quality manufacturing being executed in Barbados and have the opportunity to put faces to the people who produced the items that they consumed. Among the companies that have participated in the scheme, to
Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, Bobbi McKay as she addressed the 2012 May Day Launch
date, have been the Barbados Dairy Industries Limited and the Barbados Bottling Company Limited. Additionally, in the month of May, the BMA and the BWU will team up to conduct fire safety training for employees to help eliminate the risk of fire within the manufacturing sector. Topics will include: ‘What is a Fire’, Who should be notified’? ‘Keeping Track of what is in the Building’, ‘Fire Safety Drills’, ‘Early Warning Systems’ , ‘Proper storage of Chemicals’, and ‘Evacuation Plans, ‘ among others. Ms. McKay described the recent fire at Work Bench, a furniture manufacturing plant, as “a horrid reminder of the devastation that can be wrought by fire”. “It goes beyond the loss of real estate”, she added, “to the loss of investments and the loss of livelihoods…with various rippling effects that cause national economic strain.” As a consequence, she said that training
Sir Roy Trotman, General Secretary of the BWU as he addressed the 2012 May Day Launch
sessions such as the ones she mentioned were crucial in protecting personal and national prosperity. She added that occupational health and safety in the workplace “is the responsibility of every single one of us, employer or employee, and not only that of a single person or a management team”. Ms. McKay told the gathering that manufacturing had long been recognised as a cornerstone of our national economy and that the sector was crucial and central to the creation and retention of good jobs and a good standard of living for working families.
According to Ms. McKay: “Manufacturing jobs – especially unionised jobs – offer powerful economic benefits. As a sector, manufacturing companies are especially valuable to the economy because, when we export goods, this increases our national foreign exchange earnings”. According to Ms McKay that was why the BMA had made their mission, under the Brands of Barbados programme, to raise awareness and to sensitise consumers not only of the need to, but of the necessity of buying local and supporting local manufacturers. “Our efforts to build a sustainable economy require that all understand our responsibility and the roles that
Members of the 2012 May Day Planning Committee
Labour Minister, Dr. The Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo speaking at the 2012 May Day Launch. Seated (L-R) are Orlando Scott, Sir Roy Trotman and Ms. Bobbi McKay.
Mr. Colin Brown of the Ministry of Health is pictured at “Solidarity House” addressing May Day vendors on “Food Safety”.
we must play in realising this goal. Whether our role is employer, worker or head of a household, we all have a vital role to play in the sustainable development of our island nation.
Ms. McKay, in an appeal to employers, said:” As employers, there is a need, when purchasing supplies for our operations, whether staff uniforms, bathroom supplies, or even furniture, to remember that there is a variety of first-class options available at home in Barbados. As business leaders we need to drive local business by supporting local enterprise which in turn secures our own existence. the cycle is clear …but when broken, reduces the gain and success for all of us”.
“There has been a continuous call for Barbadians to buy local, to check your labels, to support local industry and secure Bajan jobs. While there is some evidence that some change has been taking place in our purchasing behaviour and our sense of awareness, the speed at which we are making this paradigm shift is still too slow”, she lamented.
BWU DISAPPOINTED OVER APPROACH TO ALMOND’S CLOSURE The Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) has expressed alarm and disappointment over Neal and Massey’s course of action to announce the imminent dismissal of the almost 500 employees of Almond Beach Resort. Noting that Neal and Massey is a very prominent member of the Barbados Social Partnership through the Barbados Shipping and Trading Company Limited, BWU General Secretary, Senator Roy Trotman, said the social partnership “demands that where we have any major layoff, that company has the responsibility, in the interest of the stability of the country, to meet with the Social Partnership, to apprise the Partnership of what is going on and let us see whether we are able to put together a national response to save the country from the crisis”. Sir Roy said the position taken by Neal and Massey to close the Almond Beach Resort showed a singular lack of corporate social responsibility. According to Sir Roy, the decision was most disappointing. His view is that the decision suggested that companies in this world may not be looking, as they should, at their responsibility to keep the economies of those countries, where they existed, buoyant and able to support their own businesses as well as to support the country as a whole. “We find this most disappointing in the same way that we found unacceptable the management of Neal & Massey’s comments last week – that the workers attempt would not cut it” Sir Roy said the workers did not believe that if they gave up money that they would pay the debt of Almond. Rather, he said what the workers were hoping they could do was to start, by an example, and to have enough effort being made that would encourage the government, and other people who had interest, to invest in the project to save our tourism product and to help to save the economy of our country. Sir Roy’s view was “that there was a cynical response to the effort is most disappointing”.
Unionised Workers Speaking during a press briefing on Thursday, April 5, Sir Roy revealed that some of the unionised workers at Almond were shareholders and some of them had attended a recent shareholders’ meeting. Sir Roy stated that those workers who spoke in the name of the BWU had indicated at that meeting, that while the BWU could not interfere with Almond’s way of doing its own business of making a profit, the BWU took exception to the fact that if that information regarding the difficulties had been shared in good enough time, Barbados might have been in a position to see, how together, the country could have endeavoured to resist this particular crisis. “If that information had been shared, we would have been able to put up some kind of effort, to be in a better position to serve our major industry, at what is in fact a very critical time”, said Sir Roy. Noting the resort’s importance to Barbados’ economy, Sir Roy told the press: “There is no doubt that, as a single establishment, the Almond Group of Companies is the highest yielder to the economic well-being of Barbados. “I think that when you put the companies together, you would find that one in six of every person who come to Barbados, manage in some way or another, to be serviced by Almond and that’s a major statistic. Flag Carrier “To have the flag carrier of 500 people, to be a hotel in a crisis of this sort and not to know what the replacement will be, should be a source of very great concern for all of us”, said Sir Roy lamented. “The press tells us - because we do not know enough about what is happening - that somebody might be interested in just putting down buildings and having people use up the significant amount of land for very sophisticated, esoteric kind of tourism. But what Barbados needs is tourism that uses up the hotel and that allows large numbers of people, fully to utilise the very exquisite area of our landscape. It is important therefore, that every effort should be made to have a tourism product; similar to what was at the village down there’.
In an expression of optimism, Sir Roy said: “We still are of the view that efforts can be made. We have before now written to the Prime Minister as much as six weeks ago. When we did have the opportunity, Mr. Taylor, the managing director, gave us the chance to meet with him and we had a very decent meeting with all the Almond people. We indicated that we should endeavour to make the effort to start a process which we hoped would have snowballed into a sufficient Barbados response that would have captured the imagination of the owners and that would have given us the chance to discuss an alternative to what is now happening. “We could not speak to what would have been the eventual outcome because we may still have been turned down; but we, at least, would have had that discussion by a company exercising the right levels of corporate social responsibility. “This has not taken place and although the company can do what it likes with its wealth, we, at the same time, believe that if you have wealth and you spend it and it is making more wealth for you in a country, your responsibility as an establishment is to look after the wellbeing of the people who are helping you to create that wealth. This is how we feel about this matter. “We think that the discussions should not close at this point. We think that there should be a discussion at the level of interested persons and involving the Government to see how we might be in a position to ensure that the greatest possible use is put to that particular site to the north of the island. We should try, where we can, to involve workers and the masses of people who have invested and who would still want to invest in tourism, to do so as together we try to save our major earner of foreign exchange.”
BWU WANTS DECENT MINIMUM WAGE The Barbados Workers’ Union wants Government to move before year end to establish what it calls “a decent minimum wage” for shop assistants. The Minister of Labour recently announced the adjustment in the minimum wage for Shop assistants, from $200.00 to $250.00. But the General Secretary
of the BWU, Senator Sir Roy Trotman has described the figure of $250.00 as being significantly below the expectations of the BWU for its membership. Noting that the BWU understood what had guided the decision of the Cabinet and the Minister of Labour, Sir Roy said the Union was prepared to support the $250.00, provided that it was understood and recognised that the figure was an interim measure, and that before the end of 2012, every effort was made to establish a proper minimum wage, beyond $250.00. Sir Roy also wanted to see a methodology established through which adjustments would be made in the minimum wage from time to time, so as not to reduce the issue to political football playing. Sir Roy complimented the Minister of Labour for the courage and strength of character which it took for her to put the figure forward to her colleagues and to get it to this stage. He explained that the Union was very much aware that various interests, for a long time, had endeavoured to prevent a minimum wage from being adjusted and that, even when a higher one was put forward earlier last year, threats resulted regarding the implication for jobs. Sir Roy added that even though the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry had indicated that it was willing to support an adjustment, it fell short of giving a commitment to supporting any minimum wage until now. While Sir Roy is pleased that the Minister had taken the matter firmly into her hand and had put forward this interim arrangement, he repeated that “it must be seen as an interim arrangement because, frankly, $250.00 a week in Bajan parlance “ain’t saying nutting!” “We have to be able to realise that if we are going to properly contribute to the development of our country, we have to have a minimum wage that gives a chance to the marginalised and vulnerable to be able to take care of their basic needs. $250.00 is still a substandard level”.
ILO HOSTS CONSULTATION FOR OSHE TRAINERS The consultation revealed that 42 training programmes were conducted since February 2011 for representatives of governments, including labour inspectors, as well as employers’ and workers’ organisations in 13 Caribbean countries. More than 1800 officials were trained in various areas, including the OSH Management System, International Labour Standards on OSH, Industrial Hygiene, OSH Hazards, OSH Data Collection and reporting, HIV and AIDS and the Workplace, and OSH and the Environment. In Barbados we went a step further and dealt with issues such as Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health and the Workplace.
Dr. Giovanni Di Cola (c) of the ILO Office, introduces Orlando Scott (r) of the BWU to Trinidad and Tobago’s acting Prime Minister, Errol McLeod
Barbados Workers’ Union Senior Assistant General Secretary, Comrade Orlando Scott was among the trainers who attended the ILO review consultation hosted by the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for regional and international safety and health (OSH) experts and ILO specialists involved in the programme. The consultation, chaired by Dr. Giovanni Di Cola, Officer-in-Charge, ILO Office for the Caribbean, was held in Trinidad from March 12 to 13, 2012. The meeting assessed the achievements and impact of the regional programme and planned for targeted OSHE training and policy advisory services to be offered in 2012. Launched in February 2011, the programme seeks to support governments as well as employers’ and workers’ organisations in their efforts to improve occupational safety and health at the enterprise and national levels.
Some 42 training workshops were held in the Region, beginning February 2011 when the programme was launched. This training was conducted for representatives of Government, including labour inspectors as well as employers’ organisations and trade unions in 13 countries inclusive of Barbados where four workshops were held by the Barbados Workers’ Union and held at “Solidarity House” and the Labour College. Four of the workshops were conducted by the Barbados Workers’ Union at the BWU Labour College and “Solidarity House” for some 200 shop stewards and members of joint safety and health committees in the Private and Public Sectors. The first of these workshops, held in the month of August, was coordinated by the lead consultant, Dr. Alan le Serve. The other workshops, held in the months of September, October and November, and were conducted at the BWU Labour College. As a result of the training programmes and other awareness-raising activities, including those to commemorate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28 and national safety weeks, various countries of the Caribbean are in the process
of reviewing their Safety and Health legislation. The ILO has been providing technical support in OSH policy development both at the enterprise level and the national level as well as in the revision of legislation, based on the CARICOM Model Law on Occupational Safety and Health and the Working Environment, and International Labour Standards. The Programme draws on the expertise available both within and outside the region and includes support of the University of the West Indies Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health Programme. The Honourable Errol McLeod, then acting Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Small and Micro enterprise Development, met the consultants at a reception, hosted by the ILO on the final day of the consultation.
WORLD DAY FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK Trade unions across the Globe, including the Barbados Workers’ Union will join with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to celebrate The World Day for Safety and Health at Work on Saturday, April 28, 2012. The focus of the celebration will be on the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign which is intended to direct international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.
culture involving all stakeholders. In many parts of the world, national authorities, trade unions, employers’ organizations and safety and health practitioners organise activities to celebrate this date.
FOCUS ON THE GREEN ECONOMY The international trade union movement will use the 2012 World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28, to focus on the promotion of occupational safety and health in a green economy. There is a shift in the world to a greener and more sustainable economy. However, even if certain jobs are considered to be ‘green’, the technologies used may protect the environment but not be safe at all. As the green economy develops, it is essential that safety and health at work is integrated into green jobs policies. This implies the integration of risk assessment and management measures in the life cycle analysis of all green jobs. A true green job must integrate safety and health into design, procurement, operations, maintenance, sourcing and recycling policies, certification systems and OSH quality standards. This is especially relevant for sectors such as construction, waste recycling, solar energy production and biomass processing. The international trade union movement is calling for jobs, green jobs and decent work. Trade unions want a guarantee for the social protection floor for all of the world’s people with funding to kick start or strengthen social protection in the poorest countries. Trade unions also want the greed of the financial sector to help pay for sustainability through a financial transaction tax.
TRADE UNIONS ON THE MOVE FOR RIO +20
April 28th is also a day in which the world’s trade union movement holds its international Commemoration Day for the Dead and Injured Workers to honour the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases and organise worldwide mobilisations and campaigns on this date.
With just four months to RIO +20, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), is calling on affiliates to mobilise for a more equitable, just and sustainable world.
The celebration of the World Day for safety and Health is an integral part of the Global Strategy on Occupational safety and health of the ILO and promotes the creation of a global preventative safety and health
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, called Rio + 20, will take place over three days, beginning June 20, 2012. World leaders are
What is RIO +20?
asked to revitalise commitment’ around sustainability and will discuss issues such as the green economy, the institutional framework for sustainable development as well as issues such as employment, food and energy. Rio + 20 will be surrounded by multiple events, including the People’s Summit and the Trade Union Assembly on Labour and the Environment. Trade unions’ proposals will be voiced by a large national and international trade union delegation. Why is Rio +20 important to trade unions? Rio +20 represents a major moment to ensure that our demands are heard by governments, to mobilise workers and trade unions around sustainable development and to work with others in building an alternative economic model that benefits the working people and protects the environment.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE International Women’s Day was recently celebrated and The Unionist is using this edition to highlight the troubling issue of violence against women in the workplace. There is limited statistical information on workplace violence against women in Barbados, and The Unionist will therefore draw on information released by the American Federation of Labour-Congress of Industrial Organisation (AFL-CIO) to give readers an idea of the level of violent behaviour committed against women at work in the USA. The AFL-CIO, in a recent statement to mark International Women’s Day, noted that although workplace violence is receiving increased attention in the media, the incidents that make the news are only the tip of the iceberg.
Homicide is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries for women, after traffic accidents. Thirty-one (31) percent of women who die at work are killed as a result of an assault or violent act. In 2003, 119 women died as a result of an assault or a violent act, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. 12.7 per cent of all female violent crimes were committed while the victim was working or on duty. These acts of nonfatal violence include rape and sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault. Some 36, 500 rapes and sexual assaults occur annually in the workplace. In 80 per cent of these incidents, the victim was female. Nurses experience workplace crime at a rate 72 per cent higher than medical technicians and at more than twice the rate of other medical fieldworkers. Professional (social worker/psychiatrist) and custodial care providers in the mental health care field were victimised while working or on duty at rates more than three times those in the medical field. Junior high school teachers have rate of victimisation in the workplace similar to convenience store clerks – 54.2 versus 53.9 per 1,000 workers. The article noted that data on workplace violence was scattered and inadequate to understand the extent of the problem. Many acts of non-fatal violence and threats in the workplace go unreported because there is no coordinated data-collection system to process the information. More than 936 000 of the nearly 2 million workplace crimes committed yearly were reported to the police. Rape and sexual assaults were reported to the police at an even lower rate of 24 percent.
Assaults and Violent Acts
Most incidents of violence fall into four categories: • Violence committed by clients or patients • Violence associated with robbery or other crimes • Violence among co-workers or managers; and • Domestic violence that spills over into the workplace.
Information from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, USA, showed that in the year 2000, 13,935 women had injuries or illnesses involving days away from work that resulted from assaults and violent acts.
It is the employer’s responsibility to maintain a safe workplace free of violence. Supervisors should not assume violence is “just part of the job” and the workers should not complain.
If you experience workplace violence and are represented and are represented by a trade union, talk to your union representative. Urge other members to document all assault incidents, close calls and abusive behaviour.
Workers are often concerned that they have symptoms or health conditions from exposures to contaminants in the buildings where they work. One reason for this concern is that their symptoms often get better when they are not in the building.
OFFICE ENVIRONMENT & WORKER SAFETY AND HEALTH
While research has shown that some respiratory symptoms and illnesses can be associated with damp buildings, it is still unclear what measurements of indoor contaminants show that workers are at risk for diseases. In most instances where a worker and his or her physician suspect that the building environment is causing a specific health condition, the information available from medical tests and tests of the environment is not sufficient to establish which contaminants are responsible. Despite uncertainty about what to measure and how to interpret what is measured, research shows that building-related symptoms are associated with building characteristics, including dampness, cleanliness, and ventilation characteristics.
Maintaining a healthy office environment requires attention to issues such as chemical hazards, equipment and work station design, physical environment (temperature, humidity, light, noise, ventilation, and space), task design, psychological factors (personal interactions, work pace, job control) and sometimes chemical or other environmental exposures. A well-designed office allows each employee to work comfortably without needing to over-reach, sit or stand too long, or use awkward postures (correct ergonomic design). Sometimes, equipment or furniture changes are the best solution to allow employees to work comfortably. On other occasions, the equipment may be satisfactory but the task could be redesigned. For example, studies have shown that those working at computers have less discomfort with short, hourly breaks. Situations in offices that can lead to injury or illness may range from physical hazards, such as cords across walkways, leaving low drawers open, objects falling from overhead, to task related issues such as speed or repetition, duration, job control, etc.), environmental (chemical or biological sources) or design-related hazards (such as nonadjustable furniture or equipment). Job stress that results when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities or resources of the worker may also result in illness. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY â€œIndoor Environmental Qualityâ€?, as the name implies, simply refers to the quality of the air in an office or other building environments.
Indoor Environments Indoor environments are highly complex and building occupants may be exposed to a variety of contaminants in the form of gases and particles from office machines, cleaning products, construction activities, carpets and furnishings, perfumes, cigarette smoke, water-damaged building materials, microbial growth (fungal/mold and bacterial), insects, and other pollutants. Other factors such as indoor temperatures, relative humidity and ventilation levels can also affect how individuals respond to the indoor environment. Understanding the sources of indoor environmental contaminants and controlling them can often help prevent or resolve building-related worker symptoms. Practical guidance for improving and maintaining the indoor environment is available. Workers who have persistent or worsening symptoms should seek medical evaluation to establish a diagnosis and obtain recommendations for treatment of their condition. (Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention)
MISS BWU NETBALL 2012 “Reaching for the Net” by Marsha Greenidge was the theme of a fund-raising Pageant, which was organised by the Barbados Workers’ Union Netball Club, and held at “Solidarity House” on the evening of Saturday, April 21. Five beautiful members of those clubs which take part in the BWU Netball tournaments participated in the pageant. They were Sasha David (Ms Bagatelle), Cheri Boyce (Ms. Supercentre), Ms. Charlene Jordan (Ms. H.S.L. Newbury), Brittany Wood (Ms. Wolverines) and Shekira Boxill (Ms. Solaris Energy).
Cheri Boyce from the Supercentre Club was the first runner up. She was just as excited as Shekira when her place was announced. She was also quite impressive in her talent segment, in which she performed a dance to Rubben Studdard’s, “Send Me an Angel”. She also won the Ms. Congeniality prize. Second runner up Charlene Jordan of Hillside LIME Newbury had the biggest fan club on the night; she got the Best Response in the Question & Answer Segment. The best gown category was won by Sascha Davis from the Bagatelle Ballers and the Most Photogenic was Brittany Wood from Wolverines. The entertainment for the night was high energy and enjoyable, judging from the crowd response but the most impactful was the Global Dancers; they included a Michael Jackson element which made the crowd shout for more. Veteran entertainer John King and Pico-de-Crop winner for 2011, Popsicle, got the crowd on their feet dancing to their infectious contributions.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2012: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN WORK, HEALTH AND FAMILY The contestants, cheered by their supporters, showed off their talent in song and drama, appeared in evening wear, netball wear and took part in a question and answer segment. The contestants gave a good account of themselves, but when the final whistle was blown, Shekira Boxill emerged victorious. Shekira represented the Solaris Energy Netball Club in fine style. Her drama piece, which won the Best Talent category, dealt with the life of a young lady who was in her prime and on the verge of being chosen for the national team but got pregnant. She also spoke about the challenges faced and how she managed to get her life back together and eventually achieved her goals. She also won the Best Sportswear category, in which contestants had to create a futuristic netball uniform using their clubs’ colours.
Decent Work will mean little to women workers if they are (a) unable to manage their health and family responsibilities in an environment which is empowering and free of violence and discrimination, and (b) unable to recognise the gender dimensions associated with these issues. The Gender Equality Committee of the Barbados Workers’ Union made this assertion in an impactful three-day seminar held under the theme Bridging the Gap between Work, Health and Family” from 6 – 8 March 2012 to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012. More than 60 male and female members examined from a gender perspective, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), HIV and AIDs Stigma and Discrimination, Drug and Alcohol Dependency, and the Decent Work Agenda of the International Labour Organisation ILO). The Unionist
Lively and educational sessions were led by personnel of the Ministry of Health, the HIV AIDS Project Office of the Ministry of Health and National Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Dependency (NCPADD).
HIGHLIGHT According to the participants the highlight of the seminar was a panel discussion which examined the pros and cons of adopting ILO Convention 156: Workers with Family Responsibilities. Ms Margaret Gill of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Reverend Roslyn Harper-Johnson of the Methodist Church and Comrade Julian Hunte, Deputy General Secretary, Barbados Workersâ€™ Union comprised the panel. The seminar also benefitted from the guidance of Attorney-at-law, Ms Verla Depeiza who spoke of some concerns regarding men and family law and suggested that the committee should work to bring some equity to those areas. The issue of violence did not escape attention this year. As part of the committeeâ€™s ongoing campaign to eliminate violence in all its forms, the BWU collaborated with the BWU Credit Union to hang a banner with the slogan: Break the Silence, End the Violence at Fairchild Street, Bridgetown. The banner which was strategically placed opposite the exit from the bus terminal, and next door to a fast food restaurant, stood in place for one week, sending a strong message to all who traversed that section of the city. At the end of the seminar the participants urged the Gender Equality Committee to pursue the issue of Workers With Family Responsibilities, beginning with a meeting of all shop stewards and other workplace representatives in order to ascertain the reported experiences of workers who were having challenges at the workplace. Clearly, the reconciliation of health, work and family is much too important to end at 8 March, the Gender Equality Committee must therefore move post haste to the next step.
by Wilma Clement 20
Week of Excellence 2012
BWU Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Julian Hunte as he addressed the workshop for secretaries / treasurer at the Almond Bay Centre.
Barbadian workers are demonstrating a greater appreciation for the training presented during the week of excellence programmes. Over the past three years, the organisers of the Week have been pleased with the interest being shown by workers in seeking to receive more training on issues relating ‘service excellence’.
consultants Antigua-born Dr. Carla Fleming and Franck Adjisebe of Nigeria on “Corporate Citizenship as Business Strategy: Structuring Your Programme for Impact, Relevance and Continuity”. This workshop, held on Monday, February 27, was organized for CEOs in the Private Sector and Managers in the Public Sector.
During the celebration of the 2012 Week of Excellence the training sessions organised by the Social Partners were well patronised. The first workshop, held at the Central Bank of Barbados for CEOs heard presentations by management
Some 70 persons, most of whom were human resources personnel, attended the workshop at “Solidarity House”. This workshop heard presentations by Dr. Merle Lewis, who heads the PAHO Office in Bridgetown, Professor Trevor
Hassell, Chairman of the National Commission on Chronic Disease and Dr. Hensley Sobers, a management consultant. Dr. Lewis and Professor Hassell dealt with the issue of health promotion and Dr. Sobers spoke on the subject, “Humanising Management”. The following day’s training session was tailored for supervisors and line workers and presented by industrial relations consultant, Ed Bushell, was held at the BWU Labour College. Officers who hold the posts of Secretary/Treasurer in the Public Secondary Schools attended the final
training programme which was held at the Almond Bay Centre, Christ Church. Twenty-two of the twenty-three officers attended. The presenters were Comrades Julian Hunte, Deputy General Secretary, BWU whose subject was “Handling Grievances”, Ulric Sealy, Principal of the BWU Labour College, who addressed the subject of “Conflict Resolution” and Dr. Akintoolove Corbin of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, who spoke on “Human Resources Management”.
An Employee Worthy of Emulating By Mr John Pilgrim
Give and get, these are two variables that are not often paired together, and when we do think of them, the phrases that immediately come to mind are, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and “Cast your caution to the wind”. Of course these statements have very serious, spiritual and deep meaning other than that which fits into our social and work-related realm. I had a maths teacher at secondary school whose name was Mr Atwell and he had a favourite saying, “He who puts in most, takes out most!” I have had the opportunity to test his thesis through the journey of my life (well at least so far), and indications confirm the validity of this pronouncement. Some years ago, I read with interest the story in the Advocate captioned “DePeiza cops tourism workers prize.” In that news clip, which paid deserving congratulations to Mr DePeiza, an assistant head chef at a west coast hotel, theory was pitted against practice. Qualities such as determination and dedication have often been bandied about. We can all agree however, that will-power is a strong, encouraging and change behaviour factor that has been in the foreground of most, if not all, successful persons; that urge to stick it out against all odds. Nigel’s record boasts of the traits of determination and dedication. Meaningful Reward
“The greatest moment after such dedication is when our efforts are recognised. When someone 24
shakes our hand or nods their head in our direction, indicating that the grueling fight to achieve the best was worth the sacrifices.” This keeps many of us afloat, for it is the opinion of others that seem to matter most. But what about the award to Nigel that included: a) A coveted trophy; b) A trip for two to New York on BWIA; c) A trip for two to New York on Air Jamaica; and d) A trip to anywhere aboard American Airlines. These are really sufficiently significant and super to motivate and generate positive performance. What did strike me about Nigel is that he started from scratch in the hotel sector, moved from the base position of porter and gradually worked his way up to assistant head chef. What an example to emulate, given the lack of patience and personal sacrifice among many of the young membership of our workforce in taking that steady trek to work towards the achievement of specific career goals and accomplishments. Intrinsic Satisfaction and Mentorship
Of course I would never discount the importance of individual satisfaction with personal accomplishment, for as the saying goes, “The tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory”. We have witnessed many presentations where persons receiving awards have been so overwhelmed by such recognition, that they have burst into tears. Occasions such as these often lead us to recognise the contribution of others to our successes.
The time they put in with us, the support they threw behind us, morally or otherwise. The fact remains that “No Man is an Island”, and it is only when we have someone with whom we can share our successes that they become most relevant. Nigel not only recognised his own input that led to his success, but also the contribution of others. This is noble, selfless and says much about his character. Training
It is often stated that we are what we know. Our ability to articulate, and successfully achieve our goals is founded on our knowledge, skills and attitude. Businessmen quote this as the only means to remain in the competition and abreast of our dynamic economy. Personal and professional development are two concepts that can never be divorced. Wellrounded persons are the ones who often come out on top. “Training … keep training and never stop training. Set your goals and aim for them; you’ll be a great success if you do,” Nigel reminded us. Goal-setting
When we don’t know where we want to go, we often go nowhere. Setting goals is the key to success, whether we write them down or keep a mental picture is up to us, as long as there is this focus. The above ingredients that have been prescribed and practiced by Nigel are an outflow of his philosophy (set goals and be visionary). We can all learn from such a worthy and productive model in the work environment. *Mr John Pilgrim is the Executive Director of The Productivity Council
CTUSAB PARTNERS WITH THE AIDS FOUNDATION OF BARBADOS INC. TO PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS
Participants in the workshop are pictured at the BWU Labour College with Akiba Reid (2nd from right) and Dennis DePeiza of CTUSAB, extreme right.
March 19, 2012 marked the start of a series of landmark workshops organised by the AIDS Foundation of Barbados Inc. (AFBI) in collaboration with the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB). Dedicated to the Human Rights and raising awareness of the Charter on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights in the Workplace in Barbados, each workshop will target representatives from the various CTUSAB, constituents such as the Barbados Workers’ Union. The inaugural workshop, held from March 19 to 20, was hailed as a tremendous success by the organizers and the participants. The opening ceremony featured key speakers led by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo, the General Secretary of the CTUSAB, Dennis DePeiza and the Chair of the AIDS Foundation, Mrs. Tessa Chadderton Shaw. The opening ceremony was chaired by the Secretary of the AIDs Foundation and Health and Safety Officer of the BWU, Orlando (“Gabby”) Scott. 26
Held at the BWU Labour College, Mangrove, St. Philip, participants included representatives from the Barbados Fire Service, National Conservation Commission, Barbados Prison Officers’ Association, the Barbados Police Association, National Union of Public Workers, the Barbados Defence Force, Cable and Wireless (B’dos) Limited, the National Petroleum Corporation and the Nurses’ Association. Participants were exposed to a range of sessions covering HIV and Sexuality, Stigma and Discrimination and Human Rights. Condom demonstrations were also done in conjunction with a presentation by Stokes and Bynoe. Emphasis was placed on the participants becoming familiar with The Charter on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights in the Workplace in Barbados with the intention of encouraging its adoption within their respective organizations.
REPORT OF THE REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON CAPACITY BUILDING FOR WORKERS’ ORGANISATIONS ON HIV/AIDS AND THE WORLD OF WORK by Doreen Deane The Seminar on Capacity Building for Workers’ Organisations on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work was held in Antigua and Barbuda from 27 to 28 March 2012. The Seminar was organised by the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean. This workshop brought together twenty-seven (27) representatives of workers’ organisations throughout the Caribbean. The overall objective of the Workshop was to increase the capacity of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) and workers’ organisations to effectively advocate for and represent workers living or affected by HIV and AIDS. To accomplish this, the seminar had before it the results of the survey which sought to assess the current capacity in the region. Highlights from the survey report suggested that after 30 years of the HIV/AIDS being identified in the region trade unions collectively lacked in their involvement in the fight to eliminate the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease. This was startling since the survey also revealed that trade union leaders recognise that HIV/AIDS is an important issue for the workplace. Also, in all the countries surveyed (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines , Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago), there were trade unionists with advocacy experience, The extent of this practical knowledge went beyond industrial relations and included matters such as social development, legislation and constitutional reform; yet advocacy was relegated to a reactive exercise rather than a strategic one. Several reasons were cited including insufficient institutional resources and the narrow view that the central focus of trade unions is terms and conditions of service in particular rates of
remuneration and the protection of tenure. The link had not been sufficiently formed that recognises the ability of HIV/AIDS, and other conditions that make individuals perceive others as different to themselves and not deserving, to dissipate the workforce and negatively impact the trade unions’ ability to carry forward its agenda. The findings of the survey were further validated by the workshop participants namely the need for education and training at all levels in order to ensure that HIV/AIDS receive the requisite attention. Four learning cohorts were identified, the union leadership, HIV/AIDS focal points, frontline industrial relations representative and the general union membership. Methods of delivery should include workshops, networking and distance and informal interventions. The seminar made the following recommendations on immediate steps that should be taken by trade union: a) Play a stronger and a more forceful role in the protection of workers by lobbying for a national HIV policy. b) Adopt a holistic view of the worker so that issues are addressed in a more comprehensive manner including health and family life- as they impact on the workplace. c) Be creative and innovative in all operations and extend services to families infected or affected by HIV to include loans for members, student grants and more. d) Spread the knowledge of HIV/AIDS so that the possibility of a company having an infected employee is reduced. It is hoped that these strategies employed by Caribbean trade unions for building their organisational capacity on HIV and AIDS will further cooperative development at the local and the regional level.
National NCD Commission Barbados Tackles Risk Factor Reduction By Dr. Kenneth George, Senior Medical Officer, Ministry of Health
The National NCD Commission from its inception in November 2006 has been a leader and driving force with respect to NCD prevention and control. This multi-disciplinary team works extensively with the health and non-health sector in Barbados in providing a landscape for all Barbadians to adopt healthier and productive lives. The work of the Commission has been strengthened by the international recognition at the United Nations High Level meeting in September, 2011 that called for all member states to have NCD prevention and control as part of their national strategic plans. In fact the Commission has paved the way in the Region as a model wherein other Caribbean Member States can now boast of having commissions and these include Dominica, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The need for multiple sectored approaches in NCD is required as many of the challenges particularly at the individual and community level rest in the agriculture, transport, manufacturing and urban planning sectors. The Commission has adopted many approaches to reduce the burden of chronic disease. Risk factor reduction is the most effective public health approach. The Commission has therefore made a priority the elimination of tobacco smoking, the promotion of physical activity and exercise and the adoption of healthy diets as the three main areas to move the population to better health. Our salt reduction campaign, which is designed to reduce cardiovascular disease and which involves working with the manufacturing sector and through public education programmes, is a current initiative of which the Commission is very proud. 28
Currently one quarter of all adult Barbadians have a chronic disease and this is expected to rise to a third of all Barbadians within 15 years. This distressing statistic indicated that Non communicable diseases have the potential to reverse many of the social health and economic gains made over the last 50 years. On the brighter side up to 80% of chronic disease is preventable usually by individuals committing to lifelong healthy lifestyle choices. The Commission is happy to report that the message is resonating with Barbadians both at the individual and community level. Furthermore faith based organisations, non-governmental organisations and other civil society groups, have been very supportive of the work of the Commission. We are all in this fight together and we need your support.
The Passing Parade member and as a shop steward on behalf of the sugar and agricultural workers. He was also very active in politics, and gave devoted service at the constituency branch level. Stirring tributes came from Reverend Nurse, from the pulpit, from the Minister of Housing the Honourable Michael Lashley, Comrade George’s Parliamentary representative, from John Goddard, a fellow church steward, and from his close friends, Comrade Ulric Sealy, Principal of the Barbados Workers’ Union Labour College, who spoke on the behalf of the Union.
COMRADE GEORGE BUTCHER 1943 - 2012
On Thursday, March 17, 2012, BWU President General Comrade Linda Brooks headed a strong contingent of Executive Council Members and Staff at the funeral service of departed Comrade George (“Spencer”) Butcher, late member of the Barbados Workers’ Union Executive Council, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, St. Philip.
Those who paid tribute to Comrade Butcher noted that he lived his life to the fullest through his love for God and his exemplary service to his fellow man, through the institutions of the family, church, trade union and political party. His marked contribution was so deeply appreciated that his friends and neighbours came out in large numbers to pay their respect to the fallen comrade. May he rest in peace and rise in Glory!
Comrade Butcher, 69, worked in the latter years of his life at Three Houses Plantation. He served the Union from 1965 to 2008, when he retired from work. The two-hour long service, officiated by Reverend Cortez Nurse, was a fitting tribute to Comrade Butcher. The theme which symbolised his life’s work and which resonated from the pulpit and the lectern, was George’s love for Christ and the Church, his commitment to family and his work on behalf of his fellow citizens. Comrade Butcher’s love for Christ was lived out in the Blades Hill community of St. Philip where he lived and at St. Mark’s where he served as an usher and member of the Church Council. His love for his fellow man at the national level was exemplified by his sterling contribution to the Barbados Workers’ Union, where he served for many years as an executive council
Terrance Anderson Clarke The Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union mourns the tragic passing of Terrance Anderson Clarke, late of Hothersal Turning, St. Michael, who was killed in an accident at work, at Preconco, in the month of April. Terry was laid to rest at the St. Thomas parish Church on Friday, April 20.
Errol Barrow Day 2012