Notes From The Margin

June 9, 2007

Trade Union Leader: “We’re not objecting to non-nationals”

Filed under: Barbados,Capitalism,China,Globalisation — notesfromthemargin @ 2:03 am

A couple of interesting articles on here today the first is a post on the “Living in Barbados” blog Economics 101 expat Dennis Jones makes some very cogent points about the Barbados labour market. Particularly in the case of the Four Season’s Construction resort.

Official reports continue to indicate that Barbados is at near full employment, the Central Bank of Barbados Economic and Financial Statistics for April 2007 reported that the unemployment rate is now around 7 3/4%], and there are a significant number of major construction projects underway, so the need to continue to find labour from outside is not really surprising.

The other item we can insert here is a comment from Mr. Bizzy Williams in today’s Nation Newspaper. (June 8th 2007) noting that Chinese labour is not unionized and does not pay National Insurance or PAYE hence giving the Chinese firm an unfair advantage.

“The truth is that Chinese are the cheapest labour. They don’t pay National Insurance [contribution], they don’t pay tax they don’t pay anything in Barbados” – Source: “Call For Level Playing Field” Weekend Nation, 8th June 2007 Page 5

If we accept that a labour shortage is rapidly becoming a constraint on Barbados’ development, we have to accept that workers will come to Barbados to fill construction jobs. However the third part of this comes from another article that also was in the Nation today this one is a comment by BWU Acting General Secretary Robert Bobby Morris it’s online at Lashley knocks Chinese work numbers

“We’re not objecting to non-nationals,” Morris said, adding that despite the language barrier the union would try “as far as possible” to “organise” them. He also said that Government was obligated to ensure that the rates of pay for the Chinese workers was the same as Government labourers.

Now, if we look at the future with major construction projects coming down the pipe. Obviously this is the beginning of a trend, there are going to be more cases like this. The only way this will work is if the same rules apply to everyone. Does anyone think the BWU is going to meet with any success?


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