CTUSAB General Secretary Dennis de Peiza (FILE)
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THE Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) wants to see more trained Barbadians being granted work internships.
“The introduction of workplace apprenticeships is considered a desirable development as it serves the useful purpose of providing work experience for persons who are coming out of training and are currently unemployed,” it said in a media statement.
General secretary Dennis De Peiza said the congress was mindful that most companies welcomed this development since it offered the opportunity to cash in on additional labour.
“In as much that this is a laudable initiative, it recognises that the potential exists for the exploitation of the most vulnerable in our midst. It is a potential which labour must continue to set its face firmly against.
“CTUSAB, therefore, calls on the authorities to institute the most rigorous form of policing so as to ensure that the fears of exploitation are not realised,” the statement added.
The congress also said it was important that clear guidelines and standards are developed to guide the attachment of individuals, while noting it does not support the behaviour of companies which engage in apprentice labour and pay them a stipend, some as low as $120 for a five day/40-hour week.
“This is unacceptable, in as much that the apprentice contribution is being undervalued. CTUSAB is concerned about the extent of exploitation where the apprentice is permitted half-hour for lunch.
“Moreover, CTUSAB warns against the act, on the part of employers, of throwing apprentices in at the deep end by assigning them tasks without any orientation and training.”
CTUSAB also called on the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations and the Labour Department to carefully monitor the working of the workplace apprenticeship programme, and called on shop stewards to monitor and report any developments considered exploitative to their trade union leadership. (BA/PR)