Sir Roy: Facts on LIME
GENERAL SECRETARY of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Sir Roy Trotman, has shot down a suggestion that its request for a 17 per cent wage hike for employees of telecommunications company LIME is exorbitant.
According to him, people were jumping into a discussion without knowledge of the fact that the company, had, during these “hard economic times, been making very good money” and that “Barbados has been a major contributor in the Caribbean, if not the world to the Cable & Wireless profit lines.”
Sir Roy was speaking to the DAILY NATION on Tuesday after revealing that Monday had been set as the date for the union, LIME and Minister of Labour and Social Security Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo to meet in order to bring a resolution to stalled wages talks.
LIME is offering seven per cent over a three-year period but the BWU said the company needed to come better.
Sir Roy said: “Other Caribbean parties – Jamaica is the comparison we use – have been accepted over the last two years as a company that is taking out the pot but has been making a loss,” Sir Roy said.
He further revealed: “We started these discussions [with Cable & Wireless] without having the Jamaica scenario. Now we have it, we have since questioned why the company has rejected the Barbados situation when at the same time it has been willing to offer 19 per cent over three years to a company that has made a net loss.”
The BWU head noted that these talks were three years overdue as a result of a re-evaluation exercise being done by LIME, following the merger of the then four Cable & Wireless units – Caribbean Cellular, BARTEL, BET and Information Systems.
“The previous situation of four different companies now doing the same work without a new job evaluation was causing a lot of discrimination and exploitation. So we agreed, but the truth is that this exercise started back in 2006 and the union has exercised tremendous patience,” Sir Roy explained.
“Doesn’t it strike you as strange that with a company, a union would exercise patience for six years over a job evaluation, that that union would have to be extraordinarily reasonable? And wouldn’t it strike you that that same reasonableness would also extend to other aspects of its relationship?” he questioned.
Sir Roy noted that the level of settlement the union asked for was what had been agreed to in the past and in a timeframe that was now being revised. In addition, he said there would have to be two agreements negotiated back to back.
“Not because the union is unreasonable, but because it has been extraordinarily patient and understanding to this company. When we have finished this, that would bring us to the end
of an agreement and then we are going to have to have another agreement that is going to be effective from April 1st, 2012,” he said.
“And it is the dates in there that people may not understand but the Barbados Workers’ Union understands them well. In fact, very, very well,” the general secretary added, noting that during the union’s talks with LIME it had pointed out and showed the company information that could act as a guide towards a settlement. (ROG)