by Shawn Cumberbatch
An apparent public mending of fences between senior trade union officials in Barbados has not been enough to reconcile the labour movement’s representation at next week’s International Labour Organisation conference.
The leadership of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados had left the door open for former affiliate the Barbados Workers Union to attend the annual meeting as part of a three-member trade union group in an advisory role.
Barbados TODAY investigations today revealed, however, that when the Barbados delegation headed by Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, takes up its place in Geneva longstanding delegate the BWU will be missing. This was confirmed by CTUSAB President Cedric Murrell, who said the organisation’s board had opted not to fill the second adviser position.
A list of delegates seen by this newspaper showed that the ILO had been notified that CTUSAB’s General Secretary Dennis de Peiza would the workers delegate from Barbados, with National Union of Public Workers President, Walter Maloney the lone adviser.
In addition to Byer-Suckoo, Government’s delegates are Permanent Secretary in that ministry Andrew Cox, and Chief Labour Officer Vincent Burnett.
The Freundel Stuart Administration’s advisers at the discussions are the island’s Ambassador in Geneva Dr. Marion Williams, and Counsellor at the Geneva diplomatic Permanent Mission Emalene Marcus-Burnett.
The Barbados Employers Confederation Executive Director, Tony Walcott is the employers’ delegate.
‘Spot won’t be taken up’
“What will happen is that Mr. de Peiza will go as the delegate and Mr. Maloney as the adviser and the other spot will not be taken up,” Murrell told Barbados TODAY.
“The adviser would have to be an affiliate and we didn’t extend that invitation beyond that initial situation and that was the decision of the board. Next year and other times will actually take care of themselves,” he added.
The issue of Barbados’ union delegation at the 102 Session of the ILO conference, which runs from June 5 to 20, became a controversial one after CTUSAB met and chose a new delegate, prompting previous regular delegate the BWU, represented by spokesman General Secretary Senator Sir Roy Trotman, to complain of unfair treatment.
At a media conference on the issue last month Murrell had said that if the BWU indicated it would not be accepting the adviser role the congress would have to chose a replacement, but CTUSAB has evidently had a change of heart.
“The Congress is firm in its position that the decisions of the executive board are binding… It is regretful that that decision arrived at was not agreed with subsequently by all of our affiliates and in particular the Barbados Workers Union,” Murrell said then.
About 5,000 delegates representing governments, employers and workers from the ILO’s 185 member states are to expected to take part in the conference, which will discuss issues including social protection in an ageing world, sustainable development and social dialogue. [email protected]