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BARBADOS | Unions reject comment from Industry Minister ahead of planned protest

Featured Industry and Commerce Minister Donville Inniss accused of “mocking the Barbadian workers”. Industry and Commerce Minister Donville Inniss accused of “mocking the Barbadian workers”.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jul. 10, CMC  – Ahead of Tuesday’s planned protest march to protest against the recent implementation of the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), the major trade unions have have accused  Industry and Commerce Minister Donville Inniss on “mocking the Barbadian workers”.

The union leaders in a joint statement on the weekend, made reference to a comment made by Inniss in which he dismissed the decision of the unions to march to Parliament on Tuesday.

Donville InnissOn Saturday, Inniss, in an interview with journalists, referred to the march as “a walk to burn calories”.

“The minister’s comments in a section of the press are extremely unfortunate and speak a callousness, arrogance and insensitivity that has too often been observed both in the mouthing and behaviors of some members of the Government.

Initially, the unions thought it better to ignore the Minister’s call for attention, but sadly, this also rings true for far too many governance practices to which this society has been subjected by said minister and his other Cabinet colleagues,” the statement noted.

The unions also accused Inniss of ridiculing workers against the backdrop of the recent pay restoration afforded parliamentarians.

“The minister’s ten per cent has been restored, as has that of his colleagues, and so, [as they did in 1991] his interests have been protected before the inflicting of grievous wounds to this society.

The daily suffering of Barbadians and the efforts of the unions, which are now the only entities trying to safeguard their interests, have become a source of ridicule and amusement for the minister and perhaps, others of his Cabinet colleagues,” the statement added, contending that “the efforts of Barbadians and their unions to seek to persuade against and reverse economic and social upheaval are being treated with scorn and contempt”.

However, notwithstanding what the unions are calling insulting behaviour, they have sought to assure Barbadians that they would continue to be “mature and responsible” in the push to get Government to reconsider the austerity measures presented in Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s May 30 Budget.

The unions  – the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) expressed hope that Inniss’ statements would cause workers to come out in their numbers on Tuesday and demand respect.

“Above all, the minister’s comments should be a galvanising force to the symbolic walk by leaders of this island’s trade unions, urging all Barbadians to shift some weight in addressing the concern of non-caring and dictatorial tendencies which are directly aimed at silencing and disrespecting workers and their unions,” the statement added.

  • Countries: Barbados

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