A highly-publicised disagreement at the top of the local labour movement has apparently cooled and the Barbados Workers Union’s future in the Social Partnership seemingly resolved.
Both BWU General Secretary, Senator Sir Roy Trotman, and Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados President, Cedric Murrell, were among officials signing a resolution to extend the life of the sixth protocol governing relations between workers, employers and the government until May next year.
Sir Roy and Murrell sat next to each other and exchanged pleasantries at this morning’s signing ceremony at Government Headquarters in Bay Street, St. Michael after all the partners were summoned to that location by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
The CTUSAB head did not refer to the dispute, which prompted the BWU’s withdrawal from the trade union umbrella body, directly, but said the presence of CTUSAB and others “does signify the commitment of all of us as social partners to the continued development and stability of our country”.
“The matter of the establishment of protocols and so on is now entrenched in the Barbadian psyche. It says that as partners we are committed to a course of action that in the long run will benefit our island,” Murrell stated. Sir Roy said the fact he and other labour leaders were present to sign the Protocol VI extension was a sign that worker representatives were looking at the bigger picture.
“The occasion of the signing of this protocol ought not to be seen … as anything other than an attempt being made by the Government, by the employers and by the workers representatives to ensure that we use a very dynamic tool for development to position Barbados in a manner and in a place where we can take full advantage of our human capital for the ongoing development not just of Barbados but of the Caribbean as a whole,” he said.
“There have been many speculators who are of the view that because there is a difference between members of the representatives of the workers that it follows that the workers will no longer honour their obligation to our nation to be the very best that we can be, and to work as closely as we can with employers and with the government to bring Barbados to further levels of efficiency, improved productivity and general social development.
“I think that the very fact that the signing of this resolution to extend the Protocol VI, the fact that you see recognised here all of the representatives of labour, is an indication that whatever differences that you may have helped to accentuate, whatever those differences, that labour has a commitment to its constituents, labour has a responsibility to our nation and labour intends to honour that commitment and those obligations,” he added.
Sir Roy, who has been involved in the negotiation and signing of all protocols said he had “worked … faithfully, worked hard with my colleagues, worked hard with the employers and with Government officials to develop a model which is now the envy of governments and people across the entire world, including Asia and Africa and not merely limited to the region”.
“This is a good sign, it is something on which we can build. There are far too many negatives which there are, which we are hearing and seeing relating to labour and our own level of support and contribution,” the BWU official stated.
“This protocol and our working together as a partnership ought to be able to help us to put many of those issues behind us, to overcome unfair comment and to ride above any disadvantages which may exist to the satisfaction of our nation and our region.
“I laud the attempt and I hope that we would start very early to work towards Protocol VII, which should be a deepening of the relationship.” (SC)