There is a culture of fear in the world of work that prevents young and temporary employees from standing up for their rights, one trade union leader has contended.
And this level of dread is hurting the trade union movement, President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd suggested last night.
Speaking at the BUT’s 42nd annual general conference on the topic, Mobilizing Young Workers: Key to the Future of Trade Unions, Shepherd said he was not sure that mobilization of the youth was the way to go at present because they were being paralyzed by fear.
“The trade union movement in my view needs a revolutionary approach to the matters. How can trade unions mobilize young workers who are afraid to bring their concerns or even willingly join a trade union? There is a high level of fear among young temporary workers about the security of their job and we hear it everyday,” he lamented.
In his address at the Almond Bay Conference Centre, the BUT head accused the Ministry of Education of overstepping its boundaries by denying teachers time off to which they were entitled.
He made reference to a collective bargaining document signed by both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry to the Civil Service over four years ago which outlines
the terms under which educators would be allowed
He said, teachers were allowed 20 days study leave spread evenly over two semesters, including time off to write examinations; a term’s leave after 15 years of service and every five years thereafter; 14 sick days if temporary and 21 if permanent; and for males to have a short paternity leave to bond with their newborns.
“The Ministry of Education has unilaterally altered our terms of service by denying teachers the ten days study leave,” he said, adding that under the Constitution, only the Cabinet had the power to change policy.
He also appealed to the Ministry of the Civil Service to act swiftly to ensure that teachers who were denied their earned term’s leave were allowed to enjoy it.
“Review the list of those who have applied for and met the criteria for a term’s leave and to instruct the Ministry of Education not to act outside of its jurisdiction and deny civil servants their entitlement under the laws of Barbados,” the union leader said. (DB)