There are some employers in Barbados who still believe they can mistreat and take advantage of their workers.
However, general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore has made it clear that her union will not sit idly by and allow that to happen.
Speaking at Monday’s celebrations to mark the Day of National Significance at Jubilee Gardens, The City, Moore said workers were still facing challenges as was evident in a case involving a West Coast establishment that was now before the Labour Department.
She said it was disappointing that in 2021, decades after the 1937 riots took place, workers were still not being given due respect by employers.
“In 2021, workmen’s compensation and hours of work are still being undermined by an employer class that seemingly lacks regard for human dignity. Trade union recognition is still being challenged. Employers believe that they can unilaterally alter the terms and conditions of workers…
“The most recent one [is] an employer on the West Coast – I don’t know if you call it five-diamond or fivestar – that believe that they can interfere with people’s terms and conditions, namely pay, and that there will be no repercussions. That is not a matter for conciliation, it is with the Labour Department for investigation…” Moore said.
Regarding the controversial issue surrounding the treatment of unvaccinated employees in the workplace, Moore said it would be high on the agenda at the BWU’s upcoming general meeting.
“We still have challenges concerning rights, the rights of workers to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated and we have these competing with the rights of people to enjoy a safe and healthy environment. On the latter issue, the BWU has always argued, and will continue to argue, that the rights of persons generally must not be sacrificed on the altar of social convenience of anyone, even if the moment is a COVID moment,” Moore stated.
“The freedom we have fought for allows us to express our views, whether conventional or otherwise, so there is a very nuanced debate going regarding whether or not people have the right to openly resist vaccinations. The BWU on this 84th year of commemoration and in its 80th year celebrating its formation recommits to the mission that was left to us by Clement Payne – educate, agitate, but do not violate.
As such, the BWU at its upcoming conference on August 28 will be debating, among other issues, the issue of vaccinations from a rights perspective but also by examining our responsibilities.” (RB)