Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Toni Moore – General Secretary of the BWU
The Mahogany Coconut Group welcomes the new General Secretary of the powerful Barbados Workers Union (BWU), Comrade Toni Moore. She is the first woman to head what is probably one of the best organized workers unions throughout the Caribbean. It is a tribute to the Barbadian women, who have always been in the struggle for the betterment of the working class. Our faith in the younger Caribbean generation is fortified by Comrade Moore’s elevation at the young age of thirty eight.
Comrade Moore takes over the union at a time when the workers in Barbados are under tremendous pressure as the government’s austerity program becomes more intensified and far reaching. The Transport Board, and other government statutory boards, have suffered from widespread retrenchment and the unions, in many cases have not been as vigilant, as we would have wanted them to be in fighting government on behalf of their members. Many workers of the BWU believe they have been betrayed by their leadership, and have speared no effort in publicly accusing the BWU and other unions of dropping the ball.
Her task will be to reignite that spirit of activism that has fallen so badly and we hope that she quickly demonstrates a desire to carry the fight to both the public and private sector employers. We are aware that her predecessor, Sir Roy Trotman, has left some issues on the table which she must address with great speed. We speak of the current Employment Rights Bill that employers have been exploiting because of loop holes. Comrade Moore should also move quickly to mend all fences in the Social Partnership if it is to become any worthwhile factor in the social and economic development of the country.
Submitted by BajanTruth
Sir Roy Trotman, BWU
One does not have to be a political scientist to see the “politically based delay tactic (PDT)” being played out against National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers by Barbados Workers Union (BWU) leadership who it would also appear based on the tactic used is in obvious private cahoots with government.
As we have seen on so many issues when referring to the Prime Minister for action, the PDT can now be officially called the “Stuart Manoeuvre”, which is to delay action until people forget, loose interest, get tired, or just give in. What a shame SR …. what a stain on your BWU legacy, the “workers of Barbados will never forget”.
BWU, enough is enough, either represent the workers of Barbados without partisanship concerns or give them their “DUES PAID BACK”. To accept membership dues for services and support not rendered I am sure is against the law and ripe for some kind of workers group law suit.
Submitted by Wayne Cadogan
…unions in Barbados lost their way in the early 90’s…
A few years ago there was a calypso called “Captain, the ship is sinking” and the unions are contributing to the downfall of the country. During the 1940’s thru the 1980’s unions worldwide were powerful, they had teeth and they would bite very hard. In those early days, the unions worldwide fought for the workers’ rights and in many cases where successful in defending the blue collar workers rights from unscrupulous employers. Unions served its purposes then and in many cases destroyed many businesses in the process and in some cases, countries. Unions worldwide are practically non-existent and no longer serve the purpose that it did in the earlier days. Those that are still around are just a figure head and they no longer have that power and teeth to bite but only growl.
The unions in Barbados lost their way in the early 90’s and similar to unions worldwide are no longer effective in carrying out their mandate. During the past few years, the unions have been unsuccessful in a number of negotiations with the private sector and especially within the public service. In the case of the government, it would appear that the union is in bed with the government, especially the Barbados workers union, because of all the political affiliation of some of its members. In recent years, the union has been threatening to shut down the country over some very frivolous issues, where they did not have a foot to stand on. Very recently, the union threatened to shut down the country over an apology. I cannot fathom how a company can be closed and not functioning, and the union called a strike to have workers from that company that were laid off to be reinstated. It must be noted that all of this has taken place in the middle of the sugar crop, the very industry that this country depends on to earn foreign exchange for its survival. Can the union be serious? How can a union that purports to represent the worker want to destroy the workforce that the country depends on to bring in foreign exchange to run the country?
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.
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.
Submitted by Philip Skeete
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.