Submitted by Anthony Davis
Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association (SBA) Lynette Holder is adamant that the time for talking is over. “And today she served notice that the SBA would be turning up the heat on Government this year, as it seeks to get action on a range of issues affecting the sector – Barbados Today
If they are aware of the problems why are they not doing something about them?
I find it very strange that not long ago 70% of the private sector liked their jobs and were satisfied with them, whereas for the public service it was 60%, and now all of a sudden since this Government came to power these figures have dropped to the thirties for both sectors.
Could the productivity of the workforce have slumped to such a low figure within a year or two?
I very much doubt it!
It seems to me more like people trying to extract more from the workforce than it can give, i.e. the wages have not gone up for a long while, but some employers still expect persons to give of their all. Too many employees are underpaid, and if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. On top of the meagre wages, many employers verbally abuse their staff – and it seems rampant in certain spheres where females do the most of the work. Some of these said females are refused time off if they have to take their children to the doctor, unless they engage in extra-curricular activities.
The bus service needs overhauling, because the Minister of Transport can buy as many buses as he likes but the service will be the same. If you have a good fleet of buses it is to no avail if the logistics are all wrong. What’s the use of sending a bus to some destination with three people in it, whereas there are long lines at other gates which could fill two buses?
If people cannot get to work they cannot be productive, because they are frustrated by the time they get to work. On evenings the same nonsense occurs, whereby people cannot get a bus to get home before 7. These same people then have to be up at dawn to get ready for the first bus to whichever terminal. Many females, who are single parent mothers, have to also prepare breakfast for their children so that they will have something to eat before leaving the house. Can you imagine going to a bus stop to get a bus which is supposed to leave from whichever starting point, get into the terminal, and then have to wait two or three hours before you get something to take you to your workplace?
How would you feel after such treatment?
I’m sure that you would no longer feel like working because of the frustration of getting a bus. There is also the problem of school buses. Too many buses are taken off the road to be used for that purpose.
The Minister of Labour, having imposed a minimum wage of $5/hour, has not looked back to see if the people are being paid at least the minimum wage or sent labour officers to check if the law is being upheld, so some people work for about $150/week, and on top of that some are not paid on time, some are paid – as one female said – like you would pay a Coolie man, and others are not paid for weeks while the employer expects them to come to work and give of their best.
Some who are paid through the bank complain that when they go to the bank on the relevant date many times the money is not there, and they are still expected to turn up for work and put on a happy face. I sometimes wonder how some of the ladies who work at check out points manage to keep their composure when I see the arrogance which is sometimes displayed before them as if they are lesser beings than some who get on their high horses and display their ignorance.
That behaviour also needs to be stamped out as they are also human beings doing an unthankful job. When we die not one of us gets a larger plot of land at whichever cemetery we are buried than the other. There are usually lines designated for 10 items only, and I often see people go through those lines with cart loads of items, therefore inconveniencing those who have only up to 10 items.
I don’t know if the ladies are not to tell them what the situation is or not, but I guess that those persons are of a certain standing in our society which makes the practice even worse because they are using their standing in society, not only to abuse the system but, by preying on the person at the checkin, to worm their way through that line.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur said: “Massa day done!”
So I don’t see why employees should feel satisfied when they are working under such circumstances. On top of that some of them – especially our females – have to endure verbal abuse from some of the employers/bosses which, in my opinion, is utterly despicable as the employees are expected to stand/sit there and take the abuse as if they were in the military years ago.
So, I would suggest that some mechanism be put in place to stamp out this practice in which some employers/bosses trample on the Human Rights of workers in Barbados. I also detest the statement that Barbadian workers are work shy, because there are many non-Barbadians working here.
So I would suggest, Mrs. Holder, that you and other heads of such organization hold meetings now and then, and impress on the members of your organizations that the females who are under their employment are there to work for them not under them as extra curricular activity, and only promote those who partake or worse, deny those who not participate their human rights.
I hear a lot about wanting to be a First World country.
Do you think that people in such countries can behave like that if they love their jobs and their standing in society?
They would not dare!
How do you expect young people to operate when this Government is bent on taking away the education, and tools they need – even taxing their mobile phones with the exorbitant tax of 22% VAT. Many of the young people must use their mobile phones to keep business flowing when they are on the road. As for education, that is now for the upper echelons of our society, because those in the lower echelons cannot pay the fees at BCC or UWI.
As you say, Mrs. Holder, it is high time to stop the talking the talk, and start walking the walk!