The umbrella body for trade unions is extending an olive branch to the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) in a bid to mend the split caused by the 2012 dispute over representation at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“Let us discuss it. There’s always room for discussion,” said Dennis DePeiza, general secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB).
“We speak very much to the whole question of the Social Partnership and about the idea of consultation and dialogue. We always speak about the issue of conflict resolution in industrial relations practices, so we believe in talking. There’s nothing wrong in sitting down, discussing what problems that we may have and look to resolve them.”
The ILO recently ruled in favour of Government’s decision to nominate a CTUSAB representative to attend two of its conferences – one held this year and the other last year.
The BWU had objected to the nominations, stating it was the most representative body for workers in Barbados.
But with the ILO rendering its decision on the matter several weeks ago, DePeiza said it was time for healing.
“Barbados can ill-afford to have a divided labour movement. It needs to have us united as a body going forward because we are all fighting for the same cause,” DePeiza told Barbados TODAY
“I think it is time to bury the matter. I think that matter has to be resolved.”
The trade unionist acknowledged that previous attempts to settle the dispute had failed and that calls for the trade union bodies to bridge the gap had also fallen on deaf ears.
DePeiza disclosed that the executive of CTUSAB discussed the issue at a recent meeting and an agreement was reached on how to proceed.
“We have actually made a concerted effort to try to [reach out] to see if we could get this matter with the Barbados Workers Union [settled], have a discussion and put it to bed. We are hoping that reason would prevail and that we would see the need to have a united labour movement because it’s nothing too big to be solved; to every problem there is a solution,” he said.
No discussion has taken place between CTUSAB and the BWU since the ILO ruling.
When contacted for a comment, Assistant General Secretary of the BWU, Toni Moore said the ILO judgement was self-explanatory and that CTUSAB should contact the union directly rather than speaking to the media.