The head of the umbrella body for local trade unions today defended its right to represent Barbados’ workers at last month’s International Labour Organisation conference, amid fresh controversy on the issue.
But as Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados President, Cedric Murrell, called the fallout “regrettable”, and said CTUSAB would continue its quest for international recognition, National Union of Public Workers President Walter Maloney, who attended the meeting as an adviser, said the failure to assemble a full team was a setback.
Following an invitation from Cabinet, CTUSAB chose the labour delegate, it’s General Secretary Dennis de Peiza and Maloney, sparking an outcry from Barbados Workers Union leader, Senator Sir Roy Trotman, who has been the labour delegate for many years.
The BWU subsequently refused an invitation to have one of its representatives as a second adviser at the conference.
It recently became known that in a report of the ILO’s Credential’s Committee issued at the meeting the International Trade Union Confederation officially objected to the way Barbados’ labour delegation was chosen, suggesting it should have been the BWU.
Speaking today at a news conference to report on CTUSAB’s participation at the ILO conference, Murrell said “it is regrettable that this matter has been handled in the way that it has been”.
“It is clear that the congress formed in 1995 and with the experience gained over time, led by Sir Roy Trotman, has carved its name on history’s page, certainly in Barbados. The question must be: Isn’t the congress to carve its name on history’s page outside of Barbados?” he asked.
“For me the answer to that does not lie in any excusing of anybody, it lies in the inclusion of all and certainly the delegation … and their representation does show that the labour movement in Barbados does have the ability, capacity, tenacity and all of those things to represent properly the interest of the workers. It does not reside in any one person or institution.
“If that were so then it would mean that we would not have learnt anything from history,” he added.
Maloney said it was difficult for him and de Peiza to fully participate in the ILO talks because there were four committees having discussions.
“I would hope that next year whoever goes to represent this country we will have a full delegation…, the two of us were there and it was impossible for us to service four committees,” he noted.
“And because of that I think we missed out on a lot of information because it is one thing being able to download stuff and read it, it is another thing being in the environment at the time…
“In Geneva there were countries who had 47 persons representing labour, 60 representing the private sector and God knows how many representing government. We don’t have the money to do that, but … it is so important for us to be there.” (SC)