Unions Under Threat

Barbados Labour Minister ,Dr.Byer-Suckoo

“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.
The BWU is seen as the major block, by some power breakers, in selling our country lock stock and barrel in the name of privatization. We are aware of Sir Roy’s political journey and it has its historical birth in pro masses thinking and political orientation. We are therefore not surprised that he cannot abandon his philosophical moorings to accommodate political opportunism, cronyism and economic blackmail, as his leadership of the BWU reaches retirement. He would not want a legacy of having sold out the workers. We therefore stand squarely behind him on this occasion.
What we find even more alarming is the charge by Sir Roy of a conspiracy between the Ministry of Labour and other “trade unionists” to undermine the BWU. While we cannot identify the other trade unionists, we publicly call on the current Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer- Suckoo to respond to Sir Roy’s charges which are essentially against the Government of Barbados. This charge by Sir Roy cannot be taken lightly.
We will not be moved from our position that those who are promising the world, if the unions were to disappear, did the same thing under Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. We warn workers in Barbados and the entire Caribbean, that the destruction of Unions will be the final blow against true social and economic justice. We are now seeing the results of Reagan/Thatcher policies, as countries climb to higher levels of unemployment, while the employers get richer and richer. We were therefore stunned, to say the very least, when Margaret Thatcher was so lionized on her recent passing. She and Reagan tried to dismantle the trade union movements in their countries.
We have some of similar ilk amongst us, and they must not be allowed to hold the sword of unemployment over the heads of workers, in order to get their way and execute the final rape of not only Barbados but the entire region.
The Social Partnership is nothing more than political/ corporate public relations. We firmly believe that its value to the trade union movement and workers is nothing more than a dangerous mirage.

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