General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, Senator Sir Roy Trotman has handed Prime Minister Freundel Stuart the union’s “shopping list”. The veteran trade unionist said that after securing his own mandate during the February 21 general elections, it was time for the Prime Minister to receive the union’s requests.
“We told the Prime Minister in 2012 that we were going to give him our platform, but at that time we were not going to make any demands on him,” Sir Roy said at May Day activities on Wednesday.
“We told him in this year 2013 when he became Prime Minister in his own right, we would give him our shopping list on the improvement of relations of the workers around Barbados. Prime Minister, here is part of our shopping list.”
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The BWU boss told the Prime Minister that the union wanted the Minister of Labour to work more rapidly and vigorously on the Human Resource Development Convention that was ratified in 1975.
Sir Roy further told Stuart that he wanted him to look at the Collective Bargaining Convention of 1981 and have it ratified to empower the Ministry of Labour and the Labour Department.
He suggested that the administration look at ILO Convention 156, which addressed the issue of workers with family responsibility who feel compelled to leave their parents or grandparents in less than humane conditions while they go out to work.
Sir Roy claimed that in many cases when the workers return home they usually find their loved ones in a “royal mess”.
“You need to deal with that convention, Mr. Prime Minister, now that you have the mandate from the people of Barbados,” he added.
Addressing the issue of asbestos, Sir Roy argued that the convention must be ratified to give it full teeth to ensure Barbadians avoid dangers associated with this substance.
The trade union leader also called on Government to examine the conditions under which people work in restaurants and hotels; and admonished the Prime Minister to also pay attention to the plight of part-time workers, many of whom he said were being denied certain rights.
Sir Roy told the Prime Minister that his Government would have to work on the Domestic Workers Convention to aid thousands of domestic servants †working under “conditions close to slavery”.
He maintained that the convention must be ratified, enabling legislation passed and those workers brought to freedom. The independent senator suggested that the Labour Department Act must be amended to give more power its operatives and to ensure that non-recognition of unions becomes a crime in the eyes of the law. (NC)