There are no hard feelings between trade union leader Cedric Murrell and his predecessor Senator Sir Roy Trotman.
Speaking amid a controversy that has seen Sir Roy’s Barbados Workers Union withdraw from the Congress of Trade unions and Staff Associations of Barbados partly over the labour movement’s representation at an International Labour Organisation meeting, the CTUSAB president said he was on speaking terms with his colleague.
“This organisation on Sir Roy’s demitting of office bestowed upon him the honour of being an honorary life vice president. That honour gives him the privilege to attend any of our functions, including the executive board. On more than one occasion Sir Roy has attended the meetings of the executive board and has made his contributions to the deliberations,” Murrell said yesterday during a media conference.
“From time to time I have had discussions with Sir Roy on matters so any perception out there that there would have been any particular strain, certainly with me personally, let me ensure that that perception does not take any wings, because it is not so.
“Let’s not fan the flames of this matter, but to recognise that there are times when these things will occur and we have to work our way through them to find a solution that is acceptable to all.”
Murrell suggested the current disagreement was grounded in what he personally saw as a need for “some degree of change” and understanding, including what the Social Partnership represented.
“And the best example that this congress can [set] is to say ‘Let us be inclusive, let us understand that we are all in this together, let us understand that no man is an island, and no one of us can stand alone’,” he said.
“That is message I want to send to Barbadians because I think that from time to time we may have to speak more forcibly on other issues, but the social and economic difficulties that face this country calls for all hands on deck, … it calls for an approach that says that knowledge and information must be shared because if that does not happen then this country can find itself in much more serious trouble than it is.”
Murrell also saw a need for all CTUSAB affiliates to “examine why we are here, what we are here for and how we are going to carry out what our mandates individually are”.
“And that is where each affiliate needs to take a step back and to recognise that we only exist to serve our members, not ourselves. Therefore while we may use different approaches to doing that I think if that is foremost and uppermost then it means that any obstacle can be addressed,” he said.
The president said another area of concern for him was that while Barbadians saw CTUSAB as the umbrella body for the local labour movement and it was a household name, the organisation was not similarly regarded internationally.
“We are not saying that anything that was done in the past was incorrect, all we are saying is that we can’t carry the past into the future, we have to recognise that to go into the future sometimes you have to … know that the things that you did in the past can no longer take you into the future,” he said. (SC)