Barbados Unions: Too Strong, Too Weak or Balanced Properly?

Barbados Forum: The Problem With Unionised Employees

One of the administrators at Barbados Forum recently had a bad experience with a unionised employee at Barbados Mortgage Finance – and says that management is running scared of the union.

Whatever the reality, it looks like a lively discussion will be heating up at Barbados Forum…

Do unionised employees in Barbados have managers running scared? I had an interesting experience with an unionised employee today and it left me wondering if managers are scared of these “sacred” people. I was having a discussion (not entirely friendly) with an employee of Barbados Mortgage Finance when he just slammed the phone down in my ears. I decided I would call back and speak with the senior manager and let her know what he did was just unacceptable. What I got from the manager was just unbelievable! She said that I was probably mistaken and that she just could not just accuse him since it was an unionised environment but she will ask him about it . Of course he said that I was mistaken and that he did not slam the phone down in my ears.

Now when I considered what happened and consider some other cases across barbados involving the union I am left wondering whether or not it is the managers or employees running the organisations. Or rather are unions actually running the organisations?

… continue reading this discussion at Barbados Forum (link here) 


Filed under Barbados, Business

11 responses to “Barbados Unions: Too Strong, Too Weak or Balanced Properly?

  1. FatherTime

    B.W.U. = anachronism!

    “Stuck in da Sixties” !

  2. Get In The Action

    Unfortunately over the years our left of centre governments have treated unions in Barbados like the Holy Grail. For fear of losing votes the BWU and NUPW have been allowed unrestricted growth.

    Talk about monopoly just look at the BWU. Companies are forced in line for fear of shutdown and retribution. Cross us and see if you get your goods out of the port, or what trucking company will deal with you. Cross us and we’ll have all of our members buoycott you. Seeing them in action is like watching an episode of the Sopranos.

    The reality is that Barbados is in the dark ages. Union membership in the developed world is on the decline, and Sir Roy and company are desperately trying to hold on to what they have. Unfortunately, we all suffer from this stranglehold as high wages are pricing us out of the market, and mediocre service from union members is defended.

  3. Get In The Action

    And another point – doesn’t the BWU violate every tenant under the Fair Trading Act. Is it not the true definition of a monopoly in Barbados and should it not be subject to state regulation. Just think if this kind of market control happened in the private sector.

  4. No body is going to convince me that the unions in Barbados and that Union members are sacred. I certainly will not rely on the experience of Ricardo or should i say his version of the events, and i am not alone. below is what one of his fellow forum members said to him. Remember he said it was not a friendly conversation, and a carefull read of Ricardo’s contribution in the Barbados forum would display a litany of “unfriendly” conversations.
    QUOTE(The Captain @ Feb 9 2007, 11:01 PM)
    Ricardo Posted Yesterday, 02:05 PM

    Well!! if it wasn’t a friendly conversation don’t expect the person on the other end to kiss yuh butt. This type of conversation goes both ways, chances are they tried to slam you, before you slam them. NEVER!! pizz the other person one the end off because you don’t know who it is, or they may be having a very stressful day at the office, let cool heads/ears prevail, it takes two to tango.

    If the elitist attitude that permeates that forum was brought to bare on this employee at Barbados Mortagage Finance, I can’t say i blame him. 😀

    but that doesn’t make it right, good customer service should be afforded to everyone, even those who don’t have the civility to appreciate it. Sometimes customer does take “the customer is always right” a bit to far. This incident has nothing to do with unions, and is more likely to be a case of two persons with the same attitudes squaring off. 😀 I can vouch for one. 😀

  5. CaribDigita

    You’d know if the unions in Barbados were too strong. Global companies would tell Barbados their unions were too strong and crippling their business and they’d pull out of the country during a dispute laying everyone off right than and there.

  6. CaribDigita

    America’s Unions have been reduced to almost nothing now Americans don’t even take vacations for fear of being the first one to be let go during layoffs. Most Americans now even work while they are eating again… To make sure they stay on the bosses good side. It is very common now to see people with one hand on their food and the other hand on their keyboard. You’re free to take a whole lunch but your job may one day replace you for someone that will work during their lunch.

  7. Justice

    And you think this is a good thing, Carib Digita?

  8. CaribDigita

    I think the unions in Barbados have enough latitude to keep unjust things from happening. Such as in the year gone by when dealing with Cable and Wireless…. Specifically that company wanted to load the whole of Barbados with overseas British nationals in the highest positions.

    Overall, I believe the unions in Barbados have relatively an equal balance of power to the private sector. Because there have been strikes before, and it usually led to more negotiations. (which would have happened anyway if the persons had stayed on the job). The end result though in most if not all cases was neither side got everything they wanted a different common position was usually agreed upon instead. If the demands were outragous to the private sector.

    In terms of the United States there’s a huge correction happening. In some parts of the country people want the unions back because the very rich, lobbyist, and special intrests have taken over the Bush administration.

    I am hearing a lot of opposition to the unions here what are some of the things people had in mind to reign in the unions? Usually the most common is allow the law courts to order workers off a strike and back on duty or else the union ends up getting fined some outragous amount of money each and every day.

    That happened a year or two ago in New York City when subway workers went on strike. As far as I know as far as it having an impact on the Caribbean 1 Trinidadian got caught up in that imposed fine.

  9. Carib Digita i agree with a lot of what you say, not all. I disagree somewhat on the decline of unions in America. I think their decline was self inflicted via curruption and by replacin traditional burden on working people by becoming that burden themselves. The need for union representation and protection for corporate greed as not weaned, it is still there. Workers just don’t trust the traditional union bosses and players to be that representation anymore. I have always said that todays American unions are not worth the time and effort and that the ones in Barbados are necessary, inlight of entrenched attitudes.


    Unions are even more important with globalisation and profit being basically the only gauge of a company’ success nowadays . I can’t believe anyone would think that the rights and working conditions of workers should be completely left up to the whims and fancies of the C.E.O’s . Its crazy . The notion that Government treat unions as sacred is a load of rubbish too , and got people working in practically condemnable buildings .

  11. There seems no doubt that our unions have righted virtually all the wrongs that once were commonplace among employers. It would be a foolhardy employer who did not toe the line with today’s labour standards.

    Most of today’s work stoppages are of a petty nature such whether an employee was wrongfully fired. The smart boss will always try to follow the correct procedure in this regard.

    Sometimes the union rep will come to the rescue of management, and tell the members they are wrong- go back to work. That is responsible on the part of the union leadership.

    However management these days often feels squeezed by their employees’ demands to the point where it is not worth the hassle to try and carry on profitably.

    Unions must be very careful not to let this happen. The reason so many small hotels have morphed into condos has this as its root cause.

    Rather than sweat for a 10% return on your investment (the hotel) battling employee/union demands, it is tempting to sell off the property at today’s inflated prices and put the proceeds on deposit at 6%. No sweat, but many jobs permanently lost. Not good for the employees or the country.

    Smart unions will see to it that employers are allowed to make a decent profit, proved they pay their staff fairly. There is no room for resentment over the bossman doing well. Profit-sharing plans usually work well, but we do not hear as much about them as we should.