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Employment situation in private sector revealed

1/18/2014

While the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) continues to lobby for Government to reconsider the numbers to be cut from its employment roll at the end of the month, General Secretary Sir Roy Trotman says his union fears that the falloff in State employees will result in a “sympathetic response” coming in the private sector, which would take unemployment figures up.

His comments came as he spoke to the media earlier this week during a press conference at the Union’s headquarters, where he contended that such a situation would not be one to rejoice at.

Reflecting on the employment situation in the private sector at this time, Sir Roy told the media that construction, for instance, has been very badly hit and as a result of that, the Union has encountered some stumbling blocks regarding the negotiations they have been having.

“In some instances, as much as a year has passed and we haven’t made a lot of progress with some construction companies. But I will say we have been talking to them and they have been sharing information with us. In many instances, the work has been reduced considerably, the level of construction is not everything it used to be. We had a problem earlier last year with the hotel industry; the numbers may have come up now for Christmas, but this may very well be just the seasonal. We are hoping that growth will continue, but then again we have experienced some difficulties,” he said.

With that in mind, he indicated that there are other areas in Barbados such as the distributive trades, where employment levels have also fallen off.

Meanwhile, responding to the criticisms being levelled at the trade unions at this time for not being more forceful, the veteran trade unionist maintained that any union leader at this time must be selective in how they respond during this crisis.

“1991 was different in that regard, because it was a local situation that we felt that we could have got out of and we took a number of initiatives involving the public, including trying to make some of them become entrepreneurs… [But] the areas that are available to guide people into other jobs is very limited; in fact, it is almost non-existent as we speak, and so the opportunities for the trade union movement to take strong or hard positions might be one that is foolhardy,” he suggested.

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