Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart speaking at yesterday’s May Day celebrations at Browne’s Beach. Looking on is Orlando "Gabby" Scott and Sir Roy Trotman of the BWU and Tony Walcott of the BEC. (A. Miller/BGIS)
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says Government is committed to the continuation of the tripartite dialogue which has served this country well over the years.
While addressing the May Day celebrations hosted by the Barbados Workers’ Union at Browne’s Beach, St. Michael, yesterday, Mr. Stuart stated: "[Government] is committed to cooperating and collaborating with both workers and employers to make sure that dialogue is not weakened but is strengthened. I have, from time to time, had to make my own observations on that [social partnership] arrangement, but let the word go forth that the dialogue has survived and continues to serve Barbados admirably and that that must continue."
He pointed out that the tripartite dialogue was established in the early 1990s to deepen discussions among the state, employers and the workers. "That dialogue has had its ups and downs, but in life we also have our ups and downs. Life was never intended to be a straight line; we have our mountain tops and we have our valleys, but the important thing is that that relationship has had the stamina and the commitment to survive down to the time of my speaking here to you today," he declared.
According to the Prime Minister, that relationship could not have survived without the cooperation, commitment and support of the employers, workers and successive Governments in Barbados. "And, I want to say that the commitment to that dialogue must continue. It does not mean of course that partners will always agree on everything.
It does not mean that all of a sudden God has created duplicates and not originals; we are still individual actors in the partnership and from time to time there will be challenges which have to be overcome, and social partnership is no exception to that rule.
"I want to applaud all of the partners to that social partnership that have recognised the importance of keeping the avenues of dialogue open and of ensuring that none of us loses sight of the goal which is to make Barbados a better place for all of us to live," he stated.
Prime Minister Stuart expressed the view that, over the years, the workers in Barbados had shown that they knew how to have their differences and settle them without compromising the principles to which they subscribed.
"I, therefore, have the fullest confidence that the cause of the workers and the cause of the Barbados Workers’ Union will continue to be strengthened and that?? May Day will continue to be an occasion on which workers can meet as they do on Browne’s Beach…and sing from the same hymn sheet, because they recognise?? that as long as you carry the label worker, it does not matter where you work, it does not matter who your employer is, it does not matter to which union you belong, you face the same perils and therefore, the cause of workers has to be a cause rooted in unity," he contended.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of Barbadian workers paraded through several City streets to commemorate May Day which is observed annually on May 1.