Tag Archives: Employment Rights Bill

BLP Opposing Workers Rights

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Not a day has passed that the Government has not been pilloried for its management of this country. That in itself might not be a bad thing because it would serve to keep them on their toes, instead it has made them paranoid. However, that level of pillorying has become the norm to the extent that they are being criticised for doing something positive.

They have introduced the Employment Rights Bill to Parliament and are being condemned by, of all people, a labour party whose foundation was to secure the rights of the labouring masses. If you pass St. Michael’s Row and hear a rumbling sound that would be the Right Excellent Grantley Adams turning in his grave. This is not to say that the Employment Rights Bill is perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

In opposing this bill, it would appear that the Barbados Labour Party is more interested in protecting the rights of the employer class, those with money, than they are in protecting the working class. Usually, I don’t listen to debates from the House of Assembly because I find that the level and content leave much to be desired. Nonetheless, I find myself in situations where I can’t help but to listen. Consequently, I was able to hear the Opposition complain that certain provisions were onerous, notwithstanding that those feared provisions already exist under other legislation. In essence they were not prepared and were complaining for the sake of complaining.

Continue reading

Are Trade Unions Still Relevant?

Sir Leroy Trotman who heads the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) has accused DIAMONDS International of firing 30 workers because they attended a union meeting on the weekend. Sir Roy has threatened to shut the country down if the foreign owned entity does not review it position. Caswell Franklyn who heads Unity Trade Union and veteran trade unionist has suggested Sir Roy should escalate the matter to the police – Barbados Underground

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

As long as there are workers whose rights are being infringed, or who work under substandard conditions, there will be a need for the trade union movement, or something very much like it.

This question only arises because people look on and judge the movement by the current crop of leaders. The unfavourable opinion of trade unions should really be an unfavourable opinion of its leadership. Most of them wear too many hats, sometimes openly but oftentimes clandestinely which result in the cause of the workers taking a back seat to the other agenda.

Another problem which can sometimes be regarded as a positive is that unions, for the most part, are democratic institutions. That being the case, as in parliamentary elections, the most popular, not necessarily the best equipped candidate, is elected to lead.

Continue reading

NIS Vigil

Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security

The news that the Barbados Rights Bill is currently being debated in parliament is good news. It is one of many bills which was in danger of being still born. Of interest to BU though is the visibility which a successful reading of the legislation will afford Dr. the Hon. Esther Byer-Suckoo, M.P who is Minister of Labour and Social Security. There is a view that St. George South, the constituency she represents, is a bellwether constituency, one which the government cannot lose if it desires to win a second term. Her fight against Dwight Sutherland, the BLP candidate is already shaping up nicely between the two with deep roots in the constituency.

It is not unfair to suggest that Minister Suckoo has not satisfied legitimate expectations about her performance in the several portfolios she has been give responsibility. Her homage to late Prime Minister David Thompson in parliament suggests she maybe disappointed with her performance as well! Many do not know what to make of her invisibility in the current national debate about the the NIS investment strategy. Besides one statement made in the recent Budget debate which was a general statement she has allowed her male colleagues Messrs Sinckler, Kellman and Sealy to defend the investment strategy of the NIS.

Continue reading