Barbados Workers’ Union Spat Heats Up

The following letter was sent to us on Sunday by an unknown person. We have not fact-checked anything as yet, but we will post it for now pending further information. Can anyone provide additional background on this story?

If any of the parties mentioned in the story wish to dispute any of what is written, please email us and we will be happy to publish your side. 

Thanks,

Marcus

To the Chairman and Management of Online Consultants (B’dos) Limited –computer company:

A number of your employees have voiced concerns on recent matters that relate to your company. I must say that I am a bit surprised as to what was said, but I would want to give you a chance to respond to their statements. After all, there are “three” sides to a story.

Is it true…

That a number of your employees signed over to joint the BWU in the month of July 2006, because of a number of working concerns. – If true, what are the concerns/conditions that caused your employees to join the BWU?

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 2, 2006, from the Managing Director, was sent to all staff asking them to print their name with signature indicating their union membership status. – If true, don’t you know that this can be perceived as a form of victimization?

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 2, 2006, from the Managing Director, was sent out to all staff, informing them that Mr. S was no longer employed at your company. – If true, why would you send home an employee with a good company record?

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 4, 2006, from the Chairman, was sent out to all staff, asking them to indicate (with signature) that they are not a member of the union and that they have no wish for union representation. If true, why would you have to send out a second memo similar to the one dated 2006-08-02, and also, further asking staff to indicate that they do not “wish” representation –more victimization?

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 4, 2006, from the Chairman, was sent out to all staff, informing them that the company’s bonus schemes were suspended until further notice.

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 6, 2006, from the Managing Director, was sent out to all staff, informing them that Ms. S was no longer employed at your company effective Aug 2, 2006. – If true, why would you send home an employee with a good company working record?

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 9, 2006, from the Chairman, was sent out to all staff, informing them that files were deleted on a server and as a result you have since suspended Mr. G, Mr. C and Mr. R. And that you have involved the police. – If true, are these suspected employees suspended with pay?

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 10, 2006, from the Chairman, was sent out to all staff, informing them that because of “pressuring staff at home” on union activity, Mr. C was dismissed as of Aug 10, 2006. – If true, what type of pressure did he apply? Could not your staff just hang up the phone? How did Mr. C get the phone numbers to other staff members in the first place?

Is it true…

That a meeting was held between the remaining number of your staff and the BWU at solidarity house on August 10, 2006, to address the situation at your company. This is true; the meeting lasted up until 8.45pm!

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 11, 2006, from the Chairman, was sent out to all staff, informing staff that Ms. L was dismissed from your company. – If true, what was the reason for her dismissal?

Is it true…

That a memorandum dated August 11, 2006, from the Managing Director, was sent out to all staff, informing them that Ms. W was no longer employed at your company. – If true, why would you send home an employee with a good company working record?

Is it true…

That the Chairman said, “This is his company and he is prepared to shut it down and start back with a one door operation before he would allow employees to have union representation”. – If true, doesn’t the chairman realize that this statement can be perceived as threatening to staff?

I do hope that you the management of OLC can respond to the above. Your responses will be forwarded to Barbadians that are currently very interested in the well being of your staff.

As I understand it, your staff: are young hard working people with hopes and dreams now shattered because they believe that your current actions are a direct result of them seeking their God given right to representation.

I have gone ahead to list a few facts for you to consider.

Fact…

On speaking to several of your staff members that are still working for your organization, they believe wholeheartedly that recent events in your company (as noted above) are solely due to the fact that the BWU was asked to provide representation.

Fact…

Staff members spoken to, are openly and confidentially “fearful” of being victimized and or terminated by management because of their involvement with the BWU.

Fact…

As one of the leading computer companies in this country, you business is strategically positioned to play a pivotal roll in the development of information systems and support in Barbados. As your business grows and mature, Management should do the same.

Fact…

Employees mainly join unions because of a level of dissatisfaction with working conditions in an organization. I have listed a number of the conditions that were highlighted by your employees.

  1. Employees are only allowed half hour for lunch.
  2. At the head office employees are required to go into a low roof basement to collect and deliver items that are kept in storage. This is a safety issue that has resulted in injury to employees that are required to go into this area. Some employees have received cuts to there forehead as a result of entering this basement/cellar. When management is informed of the dangers the response is usually “you must remember to duck”. To date no alternative to improve on safety in this area has been recommended by management.
  3. If a technician is assembling a computer system (with Online Consultants parts) and one of the parts is found to be faulty, he/she has to pay for that part at “profit price” out of his/her own pocket.
  4. Profit scheme does not have an unbiased methodology. The scheme is administered at management’s discretion and open to extreme bias.
  5. Public holidays are included in an employee’s vacation period. Eg. If an employee is entitled to a week vacation and a public holiday falls in that week, the public holiday is included as vacation day.
  6. The company takes a vacation week in the month of December. During this week, Employees are expected to come in for one day to do stock taking. If an employee does not come in for that one day in that week, he/she will not be paid for the week.
  7. Employees are called on by management to do a myriad of functions in the office. Employees do not have job descriptions and they feel that they are not fairly compensated for the numerous responsibilities that management asks of them on a day to day basis. You are expected to do what ever you are told without question. Eg. Someone can be working from the front desk today and selling items, and tomorrow they can be working lifting boxes. A technician can be building computers today and tomorrow the same technician could be asked to look after the store in the absence of the store manager.
  8. The chairman does not allow feedback at meetings with staff. He speaks down to his people, giving a sense of, this is it, like it or lump it, its my way or the highway. There is no respect given to the voice of staff members at such meetings. The chairman’s favorite word happens to be the “f” word at such meetings.
  9. Management will victimize, intimidate, interrogate and or terminate (fire) employees if it is found that they have become members of a trade union.

Fact…

Because an employee joins a union, does not mean that he/she is less committed or dedicated to your company.

Fact…

After management found out that staff had joined the union, eight (8) people have since been sent home from the organization.

Fact…

Companies continue to exist and grow even after unions are formed and established.

Fact…

The Managing Director and Chairman can be contacted at (246) 435-7960. Anytime after 9.00am on Monday August 14.

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Island Life

19 responses to “Barbados Workers’ Union Spat Heats Up

  1. ross

    Who are the beneficial owners of this company? Oh, I forgot, it is not required by law for this information to be made available to the public for any company in Barbados.

  2. I wonder if the BFP has contacted the owners of the company to get there side of the story before going to “print”, or even contacted them afterward so that they are aware that there is a letter to respond to.
    I would hope that the BFP does not assume that everyone is automatically aware of what is published on this site.

  3. Slow Stupid Average Bajan Citizen

    I will give the phone number a call to see if they know.

  4. Radio

    Having dealt with that comapny for years. The regular faces are gone and I was unable to call the Hasting branch directly. I had to pass a message if I wanted to speak to a member of staff. While I know the GM personally, I will not be spending my money there anymore.
    Once that company was selling nuff bootleg software, now they fighting with the union and trying to unfair bajan workers. What a transformation.

  5. John

    Bootleg software?

    And here I was thinking this was a jurisdiction where copyright was respected.

    Remember the report on the water park?

    Wasn’t it protected by copyright?

  6. Joan

    Roooooouuuunnnnd 2! What’ sgonna happen now, I wonder?

  7. Hants

    Why Unions are important.

    Google this. (He did the work Canadians wouldn’t toronto star)

  8. Anonymous

    lazy union wankers

  9. Anonymous

    As a business owner who put alot into getting my business off the ground I can totally agree with Online. Who wants someone putting their nose in their affairs.
    After reading about this in the paper, hearing about it on the news, as well as talking with some employees there I dont see what the fuss is about. A bonus every month plus another bouns resembling commision. I know a few of the employees and I know some of the staff got away with some things like comming in late, leaving early, which was kind of overlooked. Now all the foolishness they got away with finally came back to haunt them they want to complain? They need to grow up and stop complaining. Sounds like a decent job they got. Ive seen people working for less pay and longer hours in worst conditions. Let the BWU go and help those people and leave Online alone.
    By the way “…unable to call the Hasting branch directly…” those people are supposed to be working. stop calling them to bug them. If you need to call for adice for something thats what the head office number is for.

  10. Adrian

    This is what you get for allowing every two bit Brit and or Irishman into the country as a so called businessman. Online consultants is nothing more than another retail outlet. They buy a product put a markup on it and display it for sale. What makes this buisness any different than Hawking that we must have a white man come from over in away to set it up? How different is this company from Brown Sugar restaurant? This Phillip Pile seems to be getting Kid glove treatment here. If he was involved in some altercation with me he would not have been able to tell anyone anything. Fractured jaw my foot. Where is a parro when you need one? It’s the way they light up.
    Pressure being black many truths of our past some still exist today. Sad.

    http://hindssight.invisionzone.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=1372&view=findpost&p=22501

  11. Littleboy56@caribsurf.com

    Sad…”Annonymous” you are the same cad as Pile.Then again Piles (pun intended) cause discomfort. This is 2006…massa day dun!
    Hooray for the BWU…it’s about time you got back to worker representation. While you are at it, maybe you could reconsider the so-called tripartite agreement.The workers are becoming the losers again.

  12. Philip JF Pile

    Yet another Bajan with a huge chip on there should, you find it necessary to attack me personally, I hear nothing about the hard working Barbadians at OLC, for which the BWU is destroying something they have built over the last 9 years, I have nothing to defend why don’t you get some hard facts from the people working at OLC & not the short term ex staff of OLC and BWU proper gander.

    You seem to have an idea that ex pats come to Barbados for easy money, that is almost laughable, if money was my motivation I would do whot your fellow countrymen do and work in the USA,Canada or the UK. Thankfully in the UK we treat people with respect and dignity, even to the point that laws have been enacted to protect against bad union practices and racial discrimination, all this is sadly lacking in Barbados.

    Next time you decide to vent your views, try to engage your brain first, much the same as the BWU, you spout off your half truths and proper gander.

    OLC has always had a policy of people first; to that end it has always had a Monthly profit sharing scheme in place, which distributes 50/55% of the gross profit back to the workers that produced it.
    Interest free loans are made available to staff members for cars/household items. loans can be repaid at a rate which suites the employee ever month. From the beginning OLC has tried to establish a competitive company offering excellent service and reasonable cost to the public of Barbados, to that end many practices are different to the old ways known in Barbados, OLC offers employment from 9:00am until 6:00pm with ½ break for lunch, this makes the company more efficient and more profitable which is returned to the workers in the profit scheme, OLC has always actively encouraged a family team approach to the work environment, when workers come in late because they have bills to pay or leave early to attend classes or other activities, they were never refused or reprimanded, only yesterday a member of staff was telling me how badly she was treated in her former job with a Barbadian owner, she stated how much she enjoyed working in the happy family environment at OLC, all this is now being destroyed by the BWU.

    it has been alleged by an ex employee there were forced to work as “PORTERS”, the truth; workers are asked to volunteer to help unload any shipments that come in, for this the are given an extra $50/$100 cash in recognition of the extra help.

    One ex employee stated in the media he was forced to clean toilets, The Truth; some members of staff complained at the condition bathrooms were left in by other staff members, it was resolved at a meeting that all staff members would leave the bathrooms in a clean state after use.

    The above is my opinion, but as I stated before it is the people still working at OLC today that are the ones who are being affected most by this issue, go ask them.

    As always I will stand by the staff at OLC, offering any assistance I can to enable them to achieves there goals in live.

    Philip JF Pile – Chairman OLC
    pjfp@caribsurf.com

  13. Pingback: Union Dispute - Chairman of Online Consultancies Posts On Barbados Free Press « Barbados Free Press

  14. Littleboy56@caribsurf.com

    Thank God for the few wonderful Englishmen like PP who come here NOT to make a profit but to help the struggling natives!!!What a load of codswallop!! You talk about being fair! Reverse guilt is a trait of the British. I do not buy your story. Treat peoplr fairly and allow them the civil right of belonging to any organization they choose. The BWU is a reputable organ of this civil society. Abide by our laws, respect the people or take your bundle and go,Pile. Massa day done. WE are schooled in Barbados so we cannot be fooled.Bye. Oh sorry ,take some English language lessons before you go… the word is propaganda and there and their are not one and the same thing.

  15. Nathan

    I think your right “little boy” as your name would suggest your thinking and ideas of the wider world is very mislead.

  16. Technician

    pile, what a load of bollocks, you cannot do things like that, if your workers want to join a recognised union, it is the perrogative of those workers, and your implying that all the workers you fired or quit are out on a plot against you? i think an apology along with your willingness to co operate is in order.

  17. Joseph

    I have read the article regarding OLC .
    The real problems lie with black bajans, there is still a slave mentality in place along with the disgusting under current of racism, based subtly on skin tone with white being top of the pile, so are you suprised when a white man calls the shots…. look around and you will see that the white man owns the choice parts of the Island , and the black man is the subserviant caretaker for the white man.

    Did slavery really end or just evolve in Barbados minus the bull whip.

    I too remember how both OLC and Thinking Computers grew rich on pirating Microsoft products… It would be interesting to find out how both Pile and Degg so happily settled in Barbados…
    As a pair of British Expats…. Could it be they are doing the usual and running from some unfavourable situation in Britain?

    It is good that the union is making a stand to send out a clear message to such companies like OLC.
    There is a lot of good young talent in Barbados so consider , If you can use your talent to make someone else wealthy , why not do it for yourselves,
    after all they rely on your talent .

  18. Nathan

    The brittish built your feeble little island, you were transported there (sold by your own might i add, black & WHITES as slaves) the new world has demands on everybody in different ways, have nots and will nots will not no place as before……… You want it make it happen ( by getting off your backsides !!! not fiffing and farting and moaning at others. being jelous is a weak emotion

    Know your place in world and be happy with it, if your not happy make something happen the benfit yourself SIMPLE

  19. Ha looka life

    Look how de man cock up and dead just before he was to negotiate a collective agreement with the union. look short Nathan the same dont happen to you