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Barbados Workers' Union's 75th Anniversary
Thursday, 30 June 2016 15:45

We have been reminding you, for months now, that this year, 2016, is one of commemoration for Barbados which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary as a sovereign nation.

For us in the Barbados Workers’ Union this year is the more important because it marks the 75th anniversary of the registration of the Barbados Workers’ Union as the first legal trade union in Barbados. The Barbados Workers’ Union was registered on October 4, 1941 following the passage of the Trade Union Act in Parliament in 1939 and its coming into force in 1940. In addition, the Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union will be celebrating the centenary of the birth of its former iconic general secretary and National Hero, Rt. Excellent Sir Frank Walcott, KA, OBE. It must be noted that the BWU played a key role in Barbados’ independence struggle under the leadership of Sir Frank Walcott whose robust lobby in Parliament, on the political platform, in the media, as well as his role on the independence negotiating team in London.

In that regard, the Executive Council will be organising a number of activities, including a lecture series, a symposium for senior students of secondary schools on Industrial relations, a health fair, and a thanksgiving service, among others.

The lecture series will start at “Solidarity House” on Thursday, July 21st with a lecture by Dr. David Browne on the subject, “The 1937 Disturbances and the Evolution of the Barbados Workers’ Union”. This will be followed by a lecture at “Solidarity House on Thursday, August 11, starting at 7:00 p.m. by retired High Court Judge, Justice Sherman Moore. He will be assessing the work of the Barbados Workers’ Union in lobbying for, and in the piloting of social and labour legislation in Parliament over the past 75 years – key pieces of legislation which included Holidays with Pay, Maternity Leave, Severance Payment and National Insurance.

The lecture series will be continued in the month of September, the birth month of Sir Frank Walcott, with a lecture by His Excellency Ambassador Robert Morris which assesses his life and times in the Labour Movement and in Parliament. Sir Frank, apart from being the general secretary of the BWU, was president of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, Executive Board Member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, based in Brussels and a Governor of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), whose headquarters was in Geneva, Switzerland. He served in the Parliament of Barbados as parliamentary representative for St. Peter and St. Michael West and also served as President of the Senate. His life’s work in Barbados, the Caribbean and internationally, was immense.

Sir Roy Trotman will present in the month of October on the Union’s work in the development of Labour Management Relations, with emphasis on the challenges faced particularly by the BWU.

The lecture series will culminate in November with a presentation by historian Trevor Marshall who will assay the role of Women in the Labour Movement.

The school’s programme will be held in mid-September.

In the month of September there will be a march and rally to commemorate the Labour heroes with special focus on Sir Frank Walcott as the year is marking the centennial of his birth. The Rt. Excellent Sir Grantley Adams, the first president general of the BWU and Rt. Excellent Sir Hugh Springer, first general secretary of the BWU will also be highlighted as the main contributors to the labour movement in Barbados. That event is being coordinated by the Government of Barbados in association with the Barbados Workers’ Union.


Meetings Of The Employment Rights Tribunal
Thursday, 26 May 2016 13:28

The Employment Rights Tribunal heard the matter of Anderson Chase versus National Conservation Commission (2014) during the period May 9th to 11th at the Ministry of Labour.

Comrade Chase was one of the claimants for whom the Barbados Workers’ Union submitted a case on the basis of unfair dismissal during 2014. Comrade Chase’s case sought to establish that the NCC:

  • failed to follow the prescripts of the Government circular issued through the Ministry of the Civil Service
  • did not engage in meaningful consultation as provided for in Protocols 5 and 6 of the Social Partnership and Section 31 of the Employment Rights Act

The NCC failed to rebut the testimony of the former general secretary which said that the list did not follow the framework presented by the Civil Service and that the decision to dismiss the claimant was an unreasonable one

The BWU submitted that if neither reinstatement nor reengagement was deemed as a practicable form of relief, then the Tribunal must make an award of compensation consisting of a basic award and a substantial compensatory award, enhanced to take account of the deprivation of qualifying for a pension.

The BWU now awaits the Tribunal’s determination.

Thursday, 26 May 2016 13:24

The Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) congratulates BWU General Secretary, Comrade Toni Moore on her election to the post of Deputy President of the Congress of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), which is headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Comrade Moore was elected to the position of Deputy President of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) at its 3rd Congress which was held in Sao Paulo during the period May 26th to 29th. Comrade Moore was accompanied at the meeting by the Director of Industrial Relations, Comrade Dwaine Paul. The Barbados Workers’ Union has also been elected to titular positions on the Women’s Committee, the Youth Committee and the Executive Council of the Congress of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas.

The Congress adopted a base document that outlines a number of strategic priorities for the period 2016 to 2010. In particular, four priorities were adopted.

These four priorities are:

  • sustainable development
  • freedom of association and decent work
  • trade union organization and self reform

On the question of sustainable development, the TUCA affiliates ratified a vision of sustainable development built on decent work, fair and equitable distribution of wealth, participatory democracy, gender equality, social protection and social inclusion for all and economic growth.

With regard to freedom of association and decent work, the Congress recognised that this fundamental right is under attack across our region and that definite action is needed to counter-power those forces that would wish to deny workers the right to strike which, like the right to organise and the right to collective bargaining, is a fundamental pillar of freedom of association.

As it relates to trade union organising and self reform, this priortity calls for introspection but more importantly, action aimed at ensuring that the trade union movement gains legitimacy and credibility with workers and society. This objective therefore recognises the need for trade unions to re-intensify efforts towards action that gives real power to the working class; not only economic power but power to address such issues as social protection, eradicating violence against women and addressing inequality.

Speaking at the BWU’s Executive Council meeting on Wednesday night, Comrade Moore said the task for the Union is now to encourage greater participation from among TUCA affiliated Caribbean trade unions so as to strengthen the voice of workers of the Region and to strengthen our call for a greater show of solidarity from unions in the Americas to our own struggle.

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