Barbados business community prepares for National Strike – talk or no talks. “Don’t discipline any Trade Union employees”

Freundel Stuart Barbados Leader

The talks are on for today, Friday, between Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (above in a past life) and the BWU Barbados Workers Union – but that’s not stopping a few memos from circulating in the business community. Somebody sent them to BFP…

Here they are:

Memo #1


Dear Member:

Given the current state of Industrial unrest, the following recommendations are being made to all employers.


  1. Communicate to your employees the following, in times such as these, having open, frank communication is critical to ensure that matters do not escalate unnecessarily. Be sure that you impress on staff the damage which such action can have on the sustainability of not only the company, but the economy of Barbados. Ensure that your staff understands that:
    • You are not part of any dispute with the BWU
    • You fully intend to be compliant with the legislation and will not penalize them for being part of industrial action once they are a member of a recognized division,
    • Your organization is under no obligation to compensate them for time away from work, unless that time is legitimately covered under another policy within the organization.
  2. Develop a contingency plan for the organization to minimize the impact of your employee’s joining the proposed industrial action, ensure that the plan looks not only at staffing and ensuring the business is able to be adequately covered, but also bearing in mind the potential impact on critical areas, e.g. Transport Board, Barbados Port Inc. as it relates to inadequate coverage.


  1. Seek to discipline any employee, who as a member of a Registered Trade Union, participates in any Industrial Action called and sanctioned by that Union. Sections 8, 8A, and 40A of the Trade Unions Act Cap 361 clearly outlines that any employer who seeks to take action against employees for taking part in a strike is guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted and if found guilty, may be fined up to $1,000.00, imprisoned for up to 6 months or both.
  2. Agree to pay employees for periods away from work due to participation in industrial action

The BEC and the Barbados Private Sector Association continue to do all within their capacity to keep you informed and provide guidance during this uncertain period.

Memo #2


The Small Business Association wishes to advise members to adequately prepare to mitigate any impediments to normal business operations as the threat of a national general strike by the member- ship of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) looms.

The Small Business Association (SBA), recognising the adverse effect that such action could have for its members in the critical areas of telecommunications, transportation, security and customer service, has identified within our membership and among our industry partners support services which members can avail themselves to ensure uninterrupted business operations.

Help Desk Service


In addition the SBA’s hotline and email service will be open to receive your queries and provide members with any additional information required. You may contact our hotline at 430-6930 or by email at

The SBA encourages you to, where needed, to avail yourself of the above services being offered in the event that strike action is taken.



Filed under Barbados, Economy

16 responses to “Barbados business community prepares for National Strike – talk or no talks. “Don’t discipline any Trade Union employees”

  1. 134

    Why should a Company Pay employees when they go on a Union Strike ? What are Union dues for, I have never heard of the Union paying anyone that has gone out on a strike, I maybe wrong but never heard.
    What happens to those who don’t belong to the Union, Will the Union pay them to Strike ?
    Can you imagine an Island wide Strike, bringing the Country to its knees is not an option, this could put more Companies out of business.
    I seem to be missing a point here as well, Have these 97 been Fired or Severed with a nice package ?

  2. caribeye

    The strike is being called because C&W a.k.a. the Limers’ management BREACHED the protocol process by issuing severance notices to its 97 retail employees while still in the negotiation process. The payment of severance is not the issue. However, the BWU’s position is an out of proportion response to the breach and is probably a knee flex reaction (more of a “jerk”, don’t you think?) to the several instances where the BWU has lost face publicly with it’s antiquated and inadequate responses to the changed economic times and labor methodologies. E.g. the Royal Shop’s right to send it’s employees to any of its retail branches, Sandy Lane’s firing of less-than-standard performing employees with supporting warning letters over a reasonable period of time, threatened strike action at the 4 Seasons project when still owned by Pemberton’s group of investors. In each instance the BWU publicly huffed and puffed and quietly and privately folded it’s tent and slunk away after public chastisement by fair minded Barbadians. Oh, and more recently the Egyptian Jew “affair” which added more public embarrassment to the Union’s leadership.
    I agree that Lime breached the Social Contract process but the strike threat should have been called for Lime employees only and not, in my view, a National Strike since it is merely one company changing its business model and outsourcing its retail division to a third party operator but going about its severance without first completing the accepted process.
    Brickbat to PM Stuart for condoning the Union’s proposed national action rather than bringing their proposal into the more reasonable perspective of one company’s mistaken act.. Perhaps he doesn’t truly understand the economic damage a Generall Strike causes. I hope the Minister. of Finance was able to explain this to him. Backbone was needed to be shown by the Government but it declined to do so. I imagine history will show what the voters think of all this pretty posturing by Sir Roy and the PM!

  3. Rastaman

    @CARIBEYE: ;”I imagine history will show what the voters think of all this pretty posturing by Sir Roy and the PM” I really hope so.



  5. Bajan Abroad

    Go for it! Thank god I live in Canada now. Unions have gone mad. poster is correct when the tree is too badly diseased you need to cut it down and plant again.

  6. St George's Dragon

    @ Anonymous
    There is nothing which says a company has to pay staff who go on on strike. The first memo says this twice.

  7. 192

    phoque unions

  8. Konkieman

    Govt needs leglistation to stop this crap from happening. A national strike over ONE company is a pathetic example of a union out of control. Also, I noted Sir Roy likes to negotiate via the media. This suggest he lacks the professional discipline and probably the skills to do deals, and must rely on grandstanding to accomplish anything.

    Respect is earned, but this guy wants respect by power. I say defy him and shut him down for the good of the country.

  9. sith

    From the service I get when in Barbados, I thought the whole place was already on a strike or work slow down.

  10. Pingback: Barbados union, LIME reach agreement over dismissals | just telling it as it is

  11. Name.

    “From the service I get when in Barbados,
    I thought the whole place was already on a strike
    or work slow down.”

    Well said Sir!
    I’ve always thought that if the island went on strike..
    would anyone even notice?
    It’s not like Barbados is a fine example of efficiency or nuthin!

    Despite several threats, once per decade or so
    The Union will never shut the country down!
    For starters,
    they don’t have that sort of complete control.
    Secondly, they would suffer more than those who they think they might be affecting!

    Press on regardless: there will be no nation-wide strike.
    Not in my lifetime and not in yours.
    All is well. Go in Peace!

  12. These Funny Nights

    Using the following economic terms I will seek to soberly explore the validity of representation of the worker. A representation that over a period of time has begun to be slowly tainted and seemingly vilified in the court of public opinion by those whom, it appears, will benefit most,in the short run, to not having such an entity exist.

    CAPITAL – it’s interests are generally represented by the INVESTOR
    LAND- it’s interests,at the macro level, is managed by the STATE/GOVERNMENT
    LABOUR- it’s interest, with in this current dispensation, is traditionally represented by a labour movement commonly known as a Trade Union

    Having digested the above, the first two components and the respective interest holders, have for ages been perceived by the ordinary masses as being too intertwined with each other against the working class for LABOUR not to be mobilized and cohesive. Either of the before mentioned two components would result in a conflict of interest if LABOUR’s interests were to be managed by either.

    The question are, why shouldn’t LABOUR be represented? All the other components are. Shouldn’t an equitable position be sought by such representation for LABOUR being available knowing the position of the noted two? Or what other mechanism(s)can serve as replacement for a trade union which does not result in a conflict of interests being experienced by the shareholders of the noted two (CAPITAL and LAND)? Hmmmmmm tough ones huh.

    With out representation for labour, chaos and unrest will arise as man’s and woman’s natural instincts toward greed and increased profits in a finite resource realm will abound to the detriment of all. One only needs to glean information from experiences post trade unions,regionally, and be able to predict with some certainty the end result of an economic environment with out labour representation.

    In an effort to bring a level of balance, please in no way think that I am saying that all decisions or methodologies made or used by the Trade Unions in their course of fulfilling their mandate to their members would have been just or correct but we do live in an imperfect world and these issues would arise from time to time. Whilst on the other hand for one to go along with the seemingly growing sentiment that the Union is a “waste of time” and “should be gotten rid of” leaves me with an equally growing sense of dread as history has shown that that type of thinking has the ability to take the country’s development back some 100 years to a place we of contemporary minds can not and would not want to comprehend.

    Based on pubic information received thus far and the resulting actions by the parties currently involved in this latest labour dispute it is clear that the trade union involved and its actions have been effectively vindicated.

    It would have been interesting to see the outcome of the intended strike and the behaviors of the trade union members,their participation or lack thereof in the fight and then the resulting action or lack thereof of the Barbadian/foreign employer towards the Barbadian employee.

    One thing that can be said, this situation was billed as a barometer for Employers to sense the level of influence that the Trade Unions had in Barbados, so please tread softly and continue to carry your big-stick comrades.

  13. just want to know

    Sir Roy Trotman & some of his soldiers with some delegates from LIME were in church yesterday, The pastor very kindly prayed for them, so I trust & hope some of what was said to them would be taken to heart, ( if there is a heart in any of them ). People in this country are struggling,and these people only put more stress into citizens lives. It seem the less work people do the more they run to the unions. I hope Sir Roy has learnt his lesson from the Port, and what is happening there now. We can see why they did not want the cameras, to see their illegal operations. Is the same thing happening at the airport why they too do not want cameras?

  14. mark fenty

    I`ve heard of Unions in this part of the world paying its members a small fee for walking the picket line. But, my experience with Union tells me that their shouldn`t be trusted. Because all too often their are in bed with management, all the while pretending to represent the interest of their members. Its like the Union take pleasure in playing the game of having their cake and eating it to.

  15. mark fenty

    Don`t get me wrong I`m not all about vitiating the intended purpose of the Union, and that was to fight for the improvement of the working conditions of its members. But, we have not witness a generation of Union workers who think that it is acceptable, to use the Union as a instrument to justify their wrong doing. And this kind of attitude has created a working environment that encourages laziness and a disregard for the policies and procedures of the work environment.

  16. mark fenty

    I do agree that there should be a common medium between management and labor. The kind of equilibrium that prevents management from taking advantage of labor and vice verse, unfortunately, political policies does not go far enough to address this issue.