The leader of the Clement Payne Movement is calling for heads to roll at the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) over the handling of public sector retrenchments.
President David Comissiong is charging that officials at both trade unions are making “mock sport” with dismissed employees by putting political loyalties ahead of workers.
“My strong advice to the rank and file members of the NUPW and the BWU is to take proactive action to save their trade unions by voting out of office all of those partisan, politically compromised misleaders, who are putting political party loyalties before the interests of the workers,” he suggested in a statement.
The activist is particularly upset about the length of time it took to refer the dispute at the National Conservation Commission (NCC) to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart for mediation.
He further contended that the dismissed NCC workers always had the right to take their complaints to the Employment Rights Tribunal, and therefore did not need such a directive to be given at the meeting held on Sunday between the country’s leader and the parties involved in the impasse.
“If all that these so-called trade union leaders wanted to achieve was a referral of the dismissed workers’ complaints to the Employment Rights Tribunal, then there need not have been any of these numerous Press conferences and threats of strikes, nor indeed, any meetings with the Minister of Labour or the Prime Minister,” he argued.
“Furthermore, if this is all that these trade unions can do for dismissed workers, then there is no need for these workers to belong to such trade union or to pay them dues from their hard earned wages.”
“From the very outset, the dismissed NCC workers also had the right to refer their complaints to the Employment Rights Tribunal, and didn’t need any Prime Minister to tell them that. Clearly, what they expected –– and were entitled to expect –– was that their trade unions would have fought to secure a much more immediate and guaranteed remedy for their wrongful dismissals than a simple referral of their complaints to the Employment Rights Tribunal,” Comissiong added.