Morris: Add value system to labour mix
TRADE UNIONS and businesses need to go beyond the usual industrial relations issues to discuss the values that would improve competitiveness and productivity in Barbadian workplaces.
According to Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM and former trade unionist Robert “Bobby” Morris, workers, unions and employers had to have a shared value system.
Addressing the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s business luncheon last Wednesday at Hilton Barbados, he noted that industrial relations was “mainly restricted to issues such as collective bargaining, dispute resolution and occupational safety and health”.
He suggested that “one of the things that has to go on the table is a robust discussion on the values which are best suited in the Barbados workplace in order to align them with an agenda aimed at improving productivity and competitiveness”.
Morris, who is a former deputy general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, pointed out that workers’ unions and businesses may have more in common than was often realized.
“The union’s member is the employer’s employee or worker. The interest might be different but we’re talking about the same human person.
“That same human person cannot have two sets of values – a set of values that are aligned to the trade union movement and a set of values that are aligned to the employer . . . .
“Therefore you have to harmonize the values in the workplace and align management, the trade union and the worker with the same kind of values,” he said.
Morris also noted that while unions did not try to run businesses, they had a responsibility to give advice. (NB)