??(left to right) Dr. The Hon. Esther Byer-Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, Julien Hunte, Senior Assistant General Secretary Industrial Relations (BWU)??and Robert (Bobby) Morris, Deputy General??Secretary (BWU)??are featured at the Barbados Workers’ Union 70th Anniversary Delegates’ Conference??held at Solidarity??House, St. Michael on Saturday.??(A.Miller/BGIS)

While Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has lauded those employers who have not used the economic downturn to cut staff or exploit workers, he has expressed disappointment at those who use the current period to deny workers their rights.

He expressed his displeasure at this situation while delivering the feature address at the Barbados Workers’ Union 70th Anniversary Delegates’ Conference.?? It was held at the Union’s Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael Headquarters.

Mr. Stuart added: "Let me reiterate that my administration will treat the practice of denying workers their rights under any guise as totally unacceptable.?? The government, as the largest employer in Barbados and as the protector of all citizens and residents, particularly the most vulnerable members of our society, will continue to respect the rights of workers. It expects, therefore, that all other employers in the Social Partnership will relate to their workers in the same way."

He noted that the signing of Protocol VI represented the clearest indication of government’s commitment to not only defend the rights of workers during the economic downturn, but also, to plan for a strengthening of workers’ rights as the economy recovers and grows.

"It [Protocol VI] adopts a two-pronged approach by protecting jobs as well as promoting growth through enterprise and innovation among new entrepreneurs.?? It clearly identifies the potential growth areas of the new economy – drawn from the Medium-Term Development Strategy – as the cultural industries, sports, information and communications technologies, agriculture and the development of renewable energy sources," he explained.

??Delegates at the BWU’s 70th Anniversary Delegates’ Conference listen to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart address workers’ rights on Saturday at the BWU’s headquarters in St. Michael.

Mr. Stuart further stated: "The Social Partners commit themselves in the Protocol to the creation of additional opportunities which would allow increased participation in business and economic activity.?? It would also facilitate to the maintenance of a congenial work environment characterised by fairness, openness and transparency in the administration of both the public and private sectors."


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