Danny Gill is a member of the NUPW
I am responding to the attention grabbing headline carried on the front page of the Thursday, April 17, 2014 Nation Newspaper :- “CLARKE HITS OUT”. In that piece, which was accompanied with the additional headline No Solidarity on page 3, the General Secretary of the NUPW has been reported to say that the appointed and assumed “safe” members in the NUPW showed little or no interest in caring about their fellow comrades who were sent home or being sent home in the recent retrenchment exercise. He went on further to indicate that even when the prospect or discussion about striking to support their fellow comrades was put on the table or introduced, many of the appointed and “safe” civil servants hid beneath the burden of having a “mortgage”. I must take strong exception to this story. For the most part, it appears to be some sort of “public relations” face saving gimmick for the General Secretary Dennis Clarke. It also could be an attempt by him to explain away his failure to effectively lead the union in a time of crisis. It is an affront to all members to be “scape goated” for Mr. Clarke’s considerable failings.
I have been on the National Council of the NUPW for more than four years. The National Council is the NUPW’s highest decision making body outside of its Annual Conference. During my tenure, there has been no discussion or even a hint at striking against the current administration.
Submitted by William Skinner
…Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector …
In our midst, there are some very skilful manipulators of public opinion, who would like to give the impression that the trade union movement has only been in bed with the Democratic Labour Party. This is a great lie. The truth is that both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party have enjoyed incestuous relationships with the trade unions. I say unions because a very close and objective observation would reveal that none of the major unions has avoided being hijacked, at some point or the other, by members of the two ruling parties.
Ever since the fall of Grantley Adams, the Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector and really had no need for the financing of its politics either in money or kind from the BWU. This left the field wide open for Errol Barrow to inflame the traditional white corporate sector and skilfully create a black rising business/professional class that has supported the Democratic Labour Party. Barrow established a very clever bond of capital and Labour and with great cunning, convinced the masses that the Dems were for them and the Bees for the whites. The Bees equally cunning deliberately started to paint the Dems as anti-employer and the ploy of these two behemoths parties has continued. And it has worked amazingly well.
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
A court in Germany has sentenced Uli Hoeness, president of European football champions Bayern Munich, to three and a half years in jail for tax evasion. Hoeness turned himself in, hoping to get away from a prison term, when he got a tip off that he was under investigation by the German tax authorities for tax evasion. However, that ploy did not work because prosecutors argued that investigators were already pursuing his case and he was not therefore liable to benefit from turning himself in. It is interesting to note that he received the tip off, on the phone, when he was having lunch with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and that friendship was not sufficient to deter the public servants from doing their jobs.
I am not particularly concerned about who cheated the German taxman: I highlighted that case to contrast the difference Germany and Barbados if a big-up in this country was known to be cheating on his taxes.
I have it on good authority that the Inland Revenue Department is fully aware that the General Secretary of NUPW, Dennis Clarke has not paid the tax amounting to $24,000 per annum for the last four years, which is the tax payable on the value of the vehicle that he drives as part of his remuneration package.
Can our trade unions be trusted? We hearing that both NUPW and BWU bosses are leaving their unions at a crucial juncture. What can we make of it?
Originally posted on Barbados Underground:
Caswell Franklyn - Head of Unity Workers Union
In an ideal world there would be no place for trade unions. Employers would observe the golden rule, and treat their workers as they would like to be treated if they were in the employee’s place. Also, there would be no need for labour legislation.
But this is not an ideal world and even with trade unions and labour laws, workers in this country continue to suffer under the domination of tyrannical bosses. Very often, even though the worker has right on his side, he is denied proper representation by the unions and the Labour Department. The following might help to explain how things work in this country.
Last year, the General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Dennis Clarke, while on vacation, went into the office and unknown to the acting General Secretary, Roslyn Smith, wrote a…
View original 254 more words
The announcement by the government of mass redundancies has created a scenario in which the trade union goliaths have abandoned ship. First to go is Sir Roy Trotman, a man who no doubt has overstayed his welcome and whose members should have shipped him out ages ago; now Dennis Clarke, of the National Union of Public Workers, has announced his retirement.
The announcement of a possible replace by Sir Roy Trotman, general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, could not come at a more opportune moment.
Unfortunately for him, it will mean that after a lifetime of dedicated service to his members, the historical moment he has chosen will leave him with a distasteful legacy of failure. He goes at a time when many of his members face terrible hardship as they are in line to lose their jobs, both in the public and private sectors. And he has been forced to admit that the union has not got the funds to provide for his members if they fall on hard times, or if he called a strike in reaction to the government’s austerity jobs cut.
In many ways, this is his own fault and should be a wake-up call to the entire nation. For decades he has headed a union that had as its only weapon an adversarial confrontation with employers, the outdated idea of the two sides of industry, capital and labour. What Sir Roy and his key advisers have failed to understand is that industrial relations have moved on from the confrontational post-war years, which ran up to the end of the 1970s. Workplace relations have moved on with employers now offering employees a menu of benefits that have in the main to marginalise trade unionism. At some point Sir Roy and his team must explain to members why they have been paying their union dues for years, sometimes decades, and now that they need to draw on that dedication the general secretary is warning there is nothing in the pot. They will need to explain to members what kind of hedging they have been making of the unions funds, including preparation for an exceptional occurrence. They will have to explain to distressed members why the union is about to fail them when they call on the one service which drove them to join up – collective bargaining.
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart – “government has renege on its election promise to preserve the jobs of public servant”
The Mahogany Coconut Group will not be drawn into senseless nit picking in relation to the possible death of the Barbados its citizens have come to know and love. We are convinced that the first order of business is a return to the polls. If we accept that there has been a betrayal because the government has renege on its election promise to preserve the jobs of public servants, the truth is that it has failed to keep the central plank of its recent elections platform. Mr. Chris Sinkler has failed as Minister of Finance and should relieve himself or be relieved of that portfolio by the Prime Minister.
The country will not recover from this crisis overnight. It is now obvious to all and sundry that the problems are structural in nature. Those who proffer that the economy can be rescued by: eliminating summer camps; discontinuing football tournaments; shutting down constituency councils; making poor black people pay for university education; reintroducing bus fares on poor black children and sending home civil servants are grossly mistaken. We assure them that these are only superficial remedies.
The real problem the country faces is an improper management of its major resource –its people –and that is at the centre of its problems. The education system drains the national budget but it has been on automatic pilot since 1962 when free education was introduced, or so it is claimed. Ever since we have been producing citizens whose prospects of employment were getting dimmer and dimmer by the decade. In the midst of a failing economy and large sums being spent on the University of the West Indies, the limited resources had to dry up. Sir Hilary Beckles had a dream to have a graduate in every household. He never bothered to ask himself, if unemployed graduates on whom, the tax payers spent millions, were going to be an asset to the country. Nobody dared to ask him graduates in what or for what. Owen Arthur dreamed of a Barbados with two or three cars in each garage. In other words it was all about show not substance.
All during 2013, the country was force to conclude that Donville Inniss might have been assigned a roll by Cabinet and the DLP – as “Mascot and political bully” and given a ‘free-reign’ to pick fights and launch unproved political-attacks, even on the BHTA, as a deliberate distraction tactic. Unfortunately, he and the DLP might have over-played his and their hand, when he purported to have a message for the very persons engaged in the Public Service, who the DLP “tricked” and “betrayed” into thinking that there would be no layoffs from the Public Service and that their jobs and employment would be safe, once they voted for the DLP in the February 2013 general Election.
In a previous article, I made the comment that: “it did not bother the DLP and it sure did not seem to have interest trade unions, the social partnership nor civil society – that it is an offence under section 6 of the Election Offences and Controversies Act to offer or accept employment in exchange for a vote.” It is now shocking that what appear to be general elections employment letters, with a “trademark DLP-shelf-life:” 31st December, expiry date -are beginning to surface. The country must now assume that at that date, there would be no more bush; drainage issues or dengue to be concerned about, in Barbados.
Submitted by Anthony Davis
Sir Roy Trotman, General Secretary, BWU
Dennis Clarke, General Secretary, NUPW
All of a sudden we have the union leaders running around like headless chickens, trying to do for their members what they should have been doing long ago – giving them proper representation, instead of hanky-pankying with Government, and the heads of the private sector bodies. They should have anticipated what is happening now, if they had not buried their heads in the sand, and forgotten that they had people’s livelihoods in their hands.
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
In my experience when Government wants to introduce an unpopular policy, they usually secure the services of some buffoon, who has no official role, to make the announcement. If the reaction is hostile, the Government would then be able to say that it was the opinion of someone who was speaking in their private capacity, and that it had nothing to do with Government policy. The recent suggestion, by NUPW President Walter Maloney, that the middle class should be cut off from receiving many of the services that are being offered free by the state seems to be falling into the category of testing the water for Government, using a buffoon.
Mr. Maloney appears not to understand who or what constitutes the middle class. For his information many of those who we consider to be middle class are just one pay cheque away from poverty. They are mainly employed persons, who because of their status as employees, pay the bulk of the taxes. Mind you, Barbados is very highly taxed. And those persons pay the taxes generally without complaint because they were assured that their taxes would be put to good use in providing the services that Maloney wants to take away.
If Maloney and his handlers want to remove the services that the middle class are enjoying free at the point of delivery, they should first be talking about lowering the taxes so that these middle-class people would still have a little money in their pockets to pay for the services that they are thinking to withdraw.
Dennis Clarke, General Secretary, NUPW
Pedro Shepherd, President of BUT
The tenor of public debate about where the government will cut 400 million has become interesting to follow in recent days. Can we pick up the conversation from before the general election when the platform cry by the government was that public sector workers will not be sent home? A few months later, and as recent as today, we have had to listen to the head of two unions address the prospect of government slashing public sector jobs.