BWU for wage boost
THE BARBADOS WORKERS’ UNION (BWU) will ask its members to pressure their parliamentary representatives to lobby for increasing the national minimum wage from $200 weekly.
BWU’s general secretary Sir Roy Trotman made the disclosure during a Press conference at the union’s Harmony Hall, St Michael headquarters.
Reviewing labour developments in 2010 and looking to 2011, Sir Roy said little headway had been made on upgrading the basic pay for workers, including shop assistants, even though Government and private employers agreed on the need for improvement.
He indicated that the major barrier was the employers’ claim that they would have to lay off workers or at least reduce working hours if their wages bill reached a certain level.
He said employers enjoying a high standard of living should not expect their workers to live in some “unwholesome” manner because of low wages.
Government has a responsibility to act “sooner, rather than later” to address the issue, Sir Roy said.
In an article appearing in the BWU’s magazine The Unionist, Sir Roy said the two major political parties had not gone past the stage of commissioning studies on the minimum wage.
“Reports have been submitted, but nothing has come forth,” he complained.
“. . . The governments have put the recommendations on the refrigerator and the workers, in some cases, have been laid off or put on short week,” he said.
He referred to a recommendation by Professor Andrew Downes, an economist, that the minimum wage be increased from $5 per hour for a 40-hour week to at least $7.50 an hour or $60 a day/ $300 a week.
Sir Roy said the BWU was prepared to accept an immediate increase lower than $300 weekly, with “regular adjustments” over a number of months to reach and surpass the $300 figure.
Sir Roy also reported that in the new year the union would be continuing its fight for “decent work” and for employees to be given a financial stake in their workplaces.
Workers must not be viewed by management as being there simply “to carry out instructions”, he said. (TY)