One of the more disturbing stories in the media this week comes from statements made by Station Sargeant Hartley Reid who is the First Vice President of Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB). We’re sure that Sargeant Reid is a committed individual who is passionate about his job and his Union affilliation, but these comments left us shaking our heads.
“You could understand the struggles which the unions have in this country because they have 70 per cent of the workers who are benefiting from the subscriptions and the work of only 30 per cent,” first vice-president of the 14-member Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), Station Sergeant Hartley Reid, said in an interview.
“I am happy that this issue has come to the fore at this early stage of the new Democratic Labour Party administration because they will now have to take a position on unionisation and the rights of the workers.
“They are offered whatever salary there is and the workers have no recourse. Workers are exploited left, right, and centre; late payment of their salary or
wages; shifting of their employment conditions; sometimes they have no conditions at all,” he said.
The CTUSAB vice-president argued that with “all the anti-worker practices by unscrupulous employers” any legislation enacted by Government regarding mandatory signing up would mean that it would no longer be a requirement that “50 per cent plus one” of a company’s employees for the union to be recognised.
“That can easily be done. Governments must stop hiding behind democracy, by stating every worker has a democratic right to be a member of a union or not. They are perpetuating a system where persons are continuing to live a parasitic life where they would benefit from the contributions and efforts of a few,”
We on the margin have to admit that we never thought we would see the day that a trade unionist would argue for doing away with Freedom of Association! The question that we would have to ask Sargeant Reid is as follows:
If all employers are as bad as he says in the above quote, why have trade unions not been as successful in attracting more members?
Now we aren’t denying that there are employers out there whose management practices date back to the plantation era, but surely if they were all as bad as this…