At a time when there are reports of unfair treatment of workers in the COVID-19 environment, trade unionist Caswell Franklyn is not surprised at the deafening silence of General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore.
Franklyn, who told Barbados TODAY that he is being bombarded with reports of employees, particularly public sector workers, being forced to work in “unfair” circumstances said union leaders should be speaking out about these issues, in the interest of workers.
However, the leader of the Unity Workers’ Union (UWU) charged that Moore, who was elected as the Member of Parliament for St George North on a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) ticket last year, cannot speak publicly on the unfolding issues affecting workers, because of her political allegiance to her party.
“She thought she knew what she was getting into. I think she found out that that was not the case. I think it is time that the workers get together and move her.
“You can’t serve two masters, especially when the two masters are not going in the same direction. So she chose the bed that she wants to lie in, and the workers should kick her out of theirs. She has no right up there masquerading as a General Secretary now,” Franklyn said.
As Barbados continues to tackle a spike in COVID-19 cases, with a national curfew in effect until month-end, there are reports of employers advising workers that the period they were in isolation could not be treated as sick leave and informing them that they would be laid off instead.
Barbados TODAY has also received reports of workers returning to the workplace while awaiting their COVID-19 test results.
On Wednesday, attorney-at-law Michael Lashley, Q.C., described the trend as worrying and called for measures to be implemented to shield workers from victimization.
Meanwhile, Franklyn is indicating that he has been receiving numerous reports regarding heads of Government departments making it difficult for workers to even work from home, even though Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has ordered that this be done wherever possible.
“Some of her officials are not allowing workers to do so. We have a situation at the Dodds Prison where men were sleeping on the floor because they brought them to prison to get tested for coronavirus and then shut the door behind them and won’t let them leave.
“So men had on short pants and slippers and were sleeping on the floors. Some sleeping in the canteens, some of them who drove up there in cars slept in cars and they allowed that to happen for four days.
“So Government is just as bad, or as worse, than the employers that everybody else is condemning. Miss Mottley sings a good tune, but then she is not following through and the people who should implement what she says are ignoring her and the Prime Minister has not recognized that the people aren’t paying her any mind,” Franklyn said. (AH)