The trade union movement is expecting “some pain” from new efforts to fix the Barbados economy, but is appealing to its partners in Government and the private sector to do all they can to retain jobs.
Barbados Workers Union Deputy General Secretary Veronica Griffith made that appeal today as the BWU participated in its first meeting of the full Social Partnership since withdrawing from the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados.
At the same time, CTUSAB President, Cedric Murrell, said a new transformation was necessary, but that the old way of doing things would not work.
He also wanted a new business culture that would attract investment and create jobs.
Both officials spoke this morning at the opening of a Social Partnership meeting chaired by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Griffith, who was leading the BWU delegation in the absence of General Secretary Senator Sir Roy Trotman, who she said was overseas, told the meeting her union support efforts to transform Barbados, but would not accept it being done without full consultation.
“We support the call for the transformation of Barbados. We will do whatever we can to make this possible, (but) we urge that in this process that job retention and job security become that important pillar in this exercise,” she said.
“We recognise that there will be changes, there will restructuring, there will be some pain, but we believe that we can work through it as some companies in the private sector are having discussions with us.
“We feel that dialogue is essential and that will help us if we are allowed to discuss as we are doing with some companies and then the bitter pill does not seem as bitter as it is, it is an easing of the pain.”
Murrell said now was the time to start anew, including revisiting the way things were done in the business sector and government.
“The traditional ways of doing business have been tried and proven but are tired and possibly outdated. The world has advanced into a fast paced business environment driven by technological advancement and by engaging better skilled and trained work forces,” he noted.
“This means that there are some fundamental changes that we have to make if this island is to reposition itself to be competitive, self reliant and to have sustainable levels of growth. For the change process to be meaningful, the first order of business should be to address the issue of governance structures, which to all intent and purposes are constraining the development that is required.” Murrell also called for public sector reform to be refocused with a new emphasis on business development.
“It would seem that much time is spent going around in circles, pondering over what needs to be done. For the most part, determinations have already been made as to what things need to be addressed… It appears that the nation is continuing to come up short on the follow through and in implementation,” he stated. (SC)