Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is leading her parliamentarians on a fact-finding mission that is expected to result in the submission of recommendations to Government on the needs of workers across Barbados.
Mottley, who spoke to reporters at Fisherpond Plantation in St. Thomas this afternoon, heard from the mostly female labourers there, as part of her planned visits to the various work sites around the island.
The on-the-spot programme, which she has labelled “Rubbing Shoulders”, will be done every Thursday.
The main complaints which the Opposition Leader said she had gathered from the Fisherpond field workers included a lack of toilet facilities, low wages and little or no gratuity on retirement.
“That is something I have pledged to work on because it can’t be fair; these are the people who helped build the sugar industry. It is the product for which we have had global preeminence; it is the product that leads to rums for which we equally have global preeminence, and we are going to have to address that issue in terms of them retiring with nothing else than the normal National Insurance pension,” she reasoned.
“The Labour Party will pledge to do that. I’m going to get the numbers, I don’t speak in advance of getting the policy that I know that we can stick to. And I’ve given them the commitment that I’m going to look at all the numbers and see what can be done for them as a matter of urgency and recommend to Government.”
She added: “Similarly, the issue of them being able to respond to calls of nature — the cane ain’t even tall, wuh duh could do?
“And therefore we want to work with the independent farmers in particular. When we were the Government I think BAMC had tried it, I don’t know if they still use it; but we need at least one chemical toilet in the field in which they are working…” (EJ)†