Thursday, 19 January 2012 15:41
Sir Roy says it’s both workers and employers
(An Interview by John Sealy - Nation Newspaper Tuesday 17 January 2012)
The Head of this country’s largest trade union is concerned that BARBADIAN society as a whole seems to be running out of patience.
But most troubling for Sir Roy Trotman is the impact of this growing level of impatience on the workforce.
“Some [workers] are telling you point blank, “I am not thinking beyond five years. When I do five years with you I am ready for my next employer because there is no point for me sticking around and giving all my energy to somebody else” – time have changed.”
The general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) said the worrying trend was also affecting the thinking of employers – who, he said, were more driven by “greed amd money” and no longer speaking in terms of “social justice, equitable distribution and democracy”.
“…More and more people are pooh-poohing those things,” he said.
“It is not getting easier because the level of patience has disappeaed on all sides in the divide. The employers – not (only) in Barbados – are drvien by new kinds of values that say ‘we must drive down standards and regulations in the workplace; even about safety and health’.”
In light of these changes, the BWU spokesman warned that if the trade union movement was to remain relevant., it must reposition itself.
However, he said: “A part of the problem is that we have challenges from some old Neanderthals who won’t go and lie down.”
Out of fashion
“Some of the people…keep forgetting that they were out of the age group and out of fashion 30 years ago, even if some of them still wear their bow ties.”
Sir Roy also acknowledged that some people perceived that trade unions were not dealing with their concerns in an urgent manner.
However, Sir Roy said the BWU was actively engaged in succession planning and also re-examining the nature and structure of the service that it provides.
“As it currently stands, the organization is looking at two persons who are the leaders in that whole question of replacement. Then there is a third person, 31 years old, and we have a number of other people in that age group who are the current people that we rely on for the mix and the interface, so people like me will fade.
“[In fact,] I haven’t got much longer here, said the 67-year-old leader, who has already served notice of his retirement.