Barbados’ CARICOM Ambassador and former trade union leader, Robert “Bobby” Morris is cautioning citizens against taking to the streets to bring about the change needed in the country.
Addressing the first in a series of productivity awareness programmes titled, Get Up, at the Productivity Council’s offices, Baobab Towers this morning, Morris warned that social upheaval was not the answer.
Acknowledging that the island was now at a difficult stage in its social and economic development, the retired deputy general secretary of the Barbados Workers Union said it did not make sense pointing fingers at who was, or was not, to blame for the current state of affairs in the island.
He told workers from the public and private sectors attending the seminar, that the main issue was how the required change would come about.
“And I am convinced that change will not be brought about by proletarian strength; marching in the streets, destroying buildings and creating violence. That is not going to bring change,” he declared.
“And I am very clear that there is no trade union leader who believes that that is the way forward,” added Morris, who has successfully negotiated scores of collective bargaining agreements on behalf of workers in Barbados.
“We will bring about change in the way we are doing this particular exercise (the seminar). We will bring brains to the process, we will bring passion to the process, we will bring goodwill to the process, because, eventually we know that our country has to change.”
He argued that the change had to begin within each national.
“You could have seen the world in a particular way for a long time, but then you realise there is need to change — and that is so in our leadership throughout. All of our leadership have to understand that to resort to violence in any form to bring about change is unnecessary at a time when you’ve been training people to think,” Morris asserted.
He was of the view that when a country trains its people to think they do not resort to violence.
“And I am suggesting that in the work place, what we need to do is build cohesion…, which ever workplace you are in. Bring cohesion, get people to understand that the workplace, first of all, gives you a job.
“The workplaces that I have been engaged in gave me more than a job. They gave me the opportunity to get a mortgage, to build a house; they give me the opportunity to send my children to school; they gave me a livelihood… Why would I hate that place? Why would I be negative to my workplace?” the industrial relations expert asked rhetorically.
“I am saying, however, that I put full responsibility on the management of workplaces to ensure that the people are motivated to give of their best; and I believe that this motivation will come from a number of things, but primarily, I think participation is vital.”
Morris also urged Barbadians not to see profits as a bad thing for businesses, because, as he suggested, if a company did not make profits, it would be difficult to pay wages or even survive. (EJ)