A Government minister has expressed concern that the country’s labour laws give “all the rights” to employees to the detriment of the businesses themselves.
“I remain a bit troubled that as we have moved forward with some reforms of labour legislation in Barbados, that we may be moving towards a point where employees in Barbados have all the rights and employers’ rights are greatly diminished,” said Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development.
Speaking during the fifth anniversary luncheon and awards ceremony of Crumbz Bakeries at the 3Ws Oval, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus on Wednesday, Inniss warned that in such a situation there were no winners, adding that there was need for a “frank” conversation to be had.
He also suggested that in cases where employees were only focused on collecting a pay cheque at the end of the week or month, the businesses ultimately suffered.
“It is a matter that we don’t often like to talk about because there is always the fear of the reaction of organized labour movement in Barbados,” Inniss said, while reminding workers at Crumbz Bakeries, which is owned an operated by businessman Curtis Todd, of their duty to give a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
“I say to you, those of you who work with Mr Todd’s group of companies, you have a duty . . . and I am not being critical of you . . . to give of your best every day, as good as your health will allow it to be,” Inniss advised, adding that “I have always been concerned that in a Barbadian context, there are just too many workers who focus and function much towards the pay cheque at the end of the week or end of the month, and I think if the company provides the right enabling environment for workers to perform, then it is only fair that employees give of their best at all times and produce for the benefit of the company and themselves.”
In brief remarks, the Crumbz managing director cited the success of his four companies which he said had moved from less than six employees to over 40 workers.
Todd acknowledged the support received from the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, the Full Gospel Businessmen Association, Scotia Bank and others to his group which includes Kamal’s Enterprises, a garment firm; Walls Enterprises, an agro-processing business; the Flour Warehouse, a company that imports flour and distributes it to bakers and retailers; and International Sales Agency Company Limited, a debt collecting entity.
Yesterday, awards were presented to three top employees – Patsy Hinkzen, who got the managing director’s prize; Leandra King, who was the most improved employee in the Cake Department and Damon Leacock, the most improved employee, Pastry and Yeast.