June 22, 2021
Finance Minister urges workers’ unionisation

MINISTER OF FINANCE Camillo Gonsalves is encouraging workers to become unionized as this is one of the best ways to secure workers’ rights.

The minister used the scenario of workers employed at the now defunct Buccama Bay Resort having been treated unfairly by the resort’s owners when the company went bottoms up in December 2016.

“There were many attempts by unions to unionise workers at the Buccament Bay Resort, but the workers themselves rejected the unions. “..and they rejected the unions because they thought the resort was treating them well, and they didn’t want to get involved with unions and all of those things, but those same unions they rejected could have extracted commitments from their employer that would not have placed them in the position they found themselves in,” Gonsalves said.

He said when workers have representation from a union, that union will know the employer they are negotiating with and what the issues are.

“…That is better. I am a big supporter of organized labour, and I think that groups of workers should organise themselves to secure their rights “… because not because the boss come down to where you are working and pat you on your back and say we are friends, means that that will hold in the event of a challenge,” Gonsalves commented.

He noted also that organized labour is a lesson that should be taken away from issues like what transpired at Buccama, but acknowledged that the government should also vet and work better to extract promises made by companies.

However, the Finance Minister also pointed out that people should recognise that some business will fail.

Employees who were working at Buccama at the time it went into receivership recently received a ex-gratia payment totalling more EC$500,000, from the proceeds of an auction sale of the resort’s inventory.