Be fair!

A strong message is being sent to employers to pay their workers fairly.

This comes from the Reverend Graveney Bannister.

“We must commend those employers who give fair wages for work done, and we must pray that God will move the hearts of those employers driven only by profit in these turbulent times.”

Rev. Bannister, reflecting on the Gospel of Luke 5:5, recently told the congregation at St. Clement’s Anglican Church, “They were disappointed and tired and no doubt frustrated. After a whole night’s fishing, there was little to show for it. Does that sound familiar to you?

“Like some jobs in this our island – fishing, farming are risky, messy and pay little at times. Fishermen have to face and adjust to the uncertain weather, rising fuel cost, lost of equipment, and low catches. Sometimes one cannot really depend on one job as the pay is so low that people subsist with the underemployment rather than be without a job. We say a half a loaf is better than no loaf at all... A little with content is great gain.

“We say these things without truly appreciating that those are the words muttered by repressive profit-driven employers. There are those in this country who boast of their profits every quarter, and annually, but would not budge to give the workers, who help them garner the enormous wealth, their worth in the form of a decent pay and conditions of work. For many it is a case of going fishing. For many the options are few, it is Hobson’s Choice in the labour market. In other words, the attitude of some employers is take it or leave,” he said.

For the Priest-in-Charge, Trade Unions are to play a crucial advocacy role in guarding employees and prospective employees’ rights. He further expressed that unions must engage in creative analytical thinking so more benefits redound to employees, and must be apolitical.

“Our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality,” stressed the Anglican cleric making reference to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Better pay will put more money into local businesses and spur economic growth.”

He continued, “Dr. King Jr. put it best when he said, ‘Now the problem isn’t only unemployment. Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working everyday? They are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation... and it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income.’

“So Trade Unions must reinvent themselves, and be relevant. Barbadian households must be the greatest economists in the world. Persons visiting often complain of the cost of living here in our island home; they ask how do you all survive on such low wages?” Reverend Bannister stated. (TL)

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