Tag Archives: Barbados Workers Union

Notes From a Native Son: How Sir Roy, Out of Step with his Times, is Damaging the Nation

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
Once again the nation has been treated to a childish outburst from Sir Roy Trotman, the grandfather of Barbadian trade unionism, over an issue that is as relevant to a nation up to its neck in economic problems as it is for a shopper forced to join the back of the queue. We all know, as a nation, that Sir Roy, who ought to be the elder statesman of industrial relations, is capable of crying like a naughty baby who has thrown his toy out of the pram. To my mind, he has no sense of statesmanship or of good leadership and should be sent out to graze by his members.

The Case:
Sir Roy got his smalls in a twist when, it is alleged, members of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations voted to deny the Barbados Workers’ Union, of which he is general secretary, a place as part of the delegation to the International Labour Organisation meeting.
It appears, even to those of us not connected with the discussions, that it was a snub, whether intended or not, a small matter that Sir Roy could have drawn to the associate members’ attention.

But, true to form (I even get the impression he did not consult his executive colleagues, and indeed a move of such magnitude should be voted on by all the union’s members) he decided he would walk out. It is consistent with the impression I have of him as a poor negotiator – it is his way or no way.

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Barbados Workers Union Boots CTUSAB

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Sir Leroy Trotman (l), Minister of Labour Byer-Sukoo (r)

Sir Leroy Trotman (l), Minister of Labour Byer-Sukoo (r)

For some time, we have warned that the trade union movement in Barbados was being marginalized. The coziness with employers brought about by the so-called Social Partnership, has long been a cause of concern to the Mahogany Coconut Group. The frequent love fests of the employers’ representatives and the union bosses were brilliant public relations stunts designed to fool those who don’t understand the treachery inherent in such exercises.” – Mahogany Coconut Blog 1/11/2013

BWU General Secretary, Sir Roy Trotman said more specifically, his union’s decision to cut ties with CTUSAB was simply put , in an effort to prevent a deliberate effort to marginalize the Barbados Workers Union…………….He explained that this meant his organization would not have a voice at the Social partnership.” – Barbados Today, 19/04/2013

We are not in the business of saying: We told you so. At the same time, we must state that the rumblings in the so-called Social Partnership have been rampant for some time. However, they reached a peak when the BWU refused to back down from its stance with LIME and certain politicians already in bed with LIME wanted to pressure the union.

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Barbados Workers Union Has Become Irrelevant

Submitted by Philip Skeete
Sir Roy Trotman

Sir Roy Trotman

I should be grateful if you [BU]  would get in touch with Sir Roy and tell him that a strike by the members of the BWU will not cripple LIME operations in 2013. All Sir Roy will be doing is crippling the Barbados economy. LIME’s survival depends on people using cell phones. While the workers  are on strike, their idle fingers will be sending text messages to friends and family. Tops-up will be the order of the day.

Pointless boasting that the Union successfully took strike action for 3 weeks against the Telephone Company 31 years ago. Those were the days when radio telephone operators connected people  worldwide.Now every home in Barbados has a MagicJack [Skype] and while they are on strike, they will be giving their friends and family a blow by blow commentary on what is going on.

Those were the days when newspapers had to wait hours for Reuters and Associated Press stories. Today, MCTV, Direct TV and Satellite receivers mounted on top of  news media houses provide them with data before Reuters or Associated Press can get  it right. Remember the 9/11 attacks? FOX News and CNN brought the news into the homes of Barbadians. They didn’t have to wait till the following day like back in 1981 (Bartel strike) to get the news. Every day youngsters watch European football on MCTV or on satellite TV at bars all over Barbados. LIME doesn’t provide these services. Nobody is waiting for an operator to answer the phone at LIME to send a telegram to friends and family overseas, Sir Roy. MagicJack is there for that purpose.

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LIME BWU Dispute: Social Partnership Failing

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank/Watchdog Group
Sir Leroy Trotman (l), Minister of Labour Byer-Sukoo (r)

Sir Leroy Trotman (l), Minister of Labour Byer-Sukoo (r) – Credit: Barbados Today

For some time, we have warned that the trade union movement in Barbados was being marginalized. The coziness with employers brought about by the so-called Social Partnership, has long been a cause of concern to the Mahogany Coconut Group. The frequent love fests of the employers’ representatives and the union bosses were brilliant public relations stunts designed to fool those who don’t understand the treachery inherent in such exercises.

We have reached a state of utter delusion, if we believe that the playing field is level and the actions of LIME clearly demonstrate that the Social Partnership is exactly that-nothing more than high level social gatherings and smiles for the cameras.

Recession or no recession, we cannot surrender the rights of workers and their representatives to be respected. The truth is that LIME decided to dismiss workers while promising to continue the collective bargaining process. No self respecting union can take such an insult lightly.

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Diamonds International: Who's Telling The Truth?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

First let me state that I hold no brief for either Sir Roy Trotman, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, or Mr. Jacob Hassid, the owner of Diamonds International. I will therefore attempt to put the recent events involving Diamonds International in perspective in an unbiased way.

During a speech on May Day 2012, Sir Roy Trotman reported that twenty workers were dismissed by Diamonds International because they held a meeting to form a bargaining unit at their workplace. If that were so I could understand Sir Roy’s anger. What I don’t understand is why a person of such eminence would stoop to using a racial slur to make a point. Not only is he the leader of this country’s largest union: he is an honourable member of the Senate. His behaviour would have brought discredit to both bodies. Additionally, it should be abhorred that someone who has received one of Barbados’ highest honours would behave in this manner. He is articulate enough to deliver of himself without offending all right-thinking people in this country.

Having brought his union into disrepute, the Executive Council should disassociate itself from those remarks, and censure him at the very least for his conduct which he made worse by saying that he has nothing to apologise for, as reported in the Nation of May 4, 2012. Also he serves as an independent senator at the pleasure of the Governor-General, who should express his displeasure by declaring Sir Roy’s seat vacant. As a person who was knighted, he is expected to set a positive example: he has fallen way short of that example for which he should be converted back to plain old Leroy Trotman.

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Barbados Workers Union Poaching On NUPW’s Turf

Sir Roy Trotman - General Secretary of BWU

It is no secret substantive General Secretary of the National Union of Public Works (NUPW) Dennis Clarke is battling a serious illness. His condition has led to the Executive of the NUPW elevating other officers to carry on the day to day business of the union.

It therefore comes as a surprise to read the following communication which has been circulated to employees of the Customs Department. Bear in mind Barbados Workers Union (BWU) represents Customs Guards and NUPW represents the other workers at Customs.

BU understands that managing a union is akin to running a business and the harsh economic times must be negatively affecting union membership and dues. However, the kindred spirit which should exist between the two largest unions functioning under the umbrella arrangement of CTUSAB leaves a stink in the air.

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Sir Roy Trotman, Grand Ole Duke of York Up To His Old Tricks ~ National Strike Looms In Barbados

bwu.jpg
Source: Nation Newspaper

I read your blog every day and though I do not always agree with your opinions I do see the need for your blog and I find you much less biased that BFP which is why I am writing to you. I hear there is a strike looming which could possibly become a national strike and I am personally shocked at the lack of action taken to avert this strike by our new government. Maybe it’s that I am used to Owen’s politics where he would personally intervene in order to avert a strike as he has done on numerous occasions even just before the elections but is not leadership what we want in a prime minister….someone who even if it is not their business would get involved? any feedback whether by email or in an article would be appreciated.

Submitted by BU reader, the opinion expressed above is not necessarily shared by BU.

We have always held the view that the tripartite social partnership comprised of government, private sector and union is a contrived arrangement orchestrated by the master of inclusion, the late Owen Seymour Arthur. Its touted success was derived more for political expediency which has benefited government and private sector at the expense of workers for its duration. Key players in the union and private sector have been rewarded by the master of inclusion. The workers in our opinion have been disadvantaged over the years by this two headed master who has operated under the guise of government and private sector. To be further explored at a later date.

To the issue at hand — the threat of a national strike looms on Wednesday 20, 2008. Whether it happens or not the economy of Barbados would be negatively affected. Cruise ships would have adjusted their itineraries as well as forward bookings by people wanting to travel to Barbados. It begs the question why has this issue reached boiling point so quickly.

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