Minister of Labour Colin Jordan has made an impassioned plea to employers not to “treat workers like trash”, or they risk the island descending into “disorder” and discontent.
Speaking Tuesday in the House of Assembly, currently situated at the Worthing Corporate Centre, Christ Church, the former senior hotel executive said he was very concerned about the way some managers were treating employees in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The St Peter Member of Parliament told Parliament he was very disappointed by the actions of some managers towards staff, and accused them of seeking to be tougher on staff than the owners of the businesses.
While not singling out hospitality workers, many of whom have taken to the streets in protest and radio call-in programmes to vent their frustrations and dire financial situations, Jordan expressed grave worry about what he was witnessing on Barbados’ labour landscape.
“I’ve compared Barbados to even some of our Caribbean neighbours. When Barbadians react, it is usually when they are pushed to a certain point. And I want to say to employers, as I say to workers, ‘let us remember Barbados’ claim to fame; we have come to where we are mainly because we have managed, at least to the post-Independence era, to maintain a certain level of order’.
“So that, even as bad as the last Government was . . . there is a certain order to how we see ourselves.
“I am calling on managers of organisations not to do anything that would destroy the order that is necessary for the functioning of a well-ordered society, and not to do things that will push people to the point where they have to react in the way that we are seeing them react in our society,” he added.
Jordan, who was speaking on the Central Bank of Barbados Bill 2020, told the House: “It is important for us, if we are to live in a decent, fair, just, and non-discriminatory society, that we follow the principles that form the foundation of this Central Bank Bill – principles that speak to good governance and speak to a recognition that a country is not just dollars and cents but a country is made up of people.”
Speaking to the implications of a lack of confidence in the country, Jordan drew reference to the flight of capital that he said took place about three years before the Mia Mottley administration came to power in 2018.
According to the MP, an accountant by profession, capital flight takes place when confidence is undermined and disorder sets in, and investment dries up and there is a failure to create new jobs. (IMC1)