Saturday, April 20, 2024

Not true unions cause of violence


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ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO after meeting the Reverend Leslie Lett for the first time, I developed great love and respect, held him in high esteem and still do so today.

However, allow me to ask on what basis and evidence has he concluded that unions are toothless and are one of the main causes for the resurgence of violence?

In his letter in the DAILY NATION of August 24, 2015, Rev. Lett mentions “toothless unions” as one of the main causes for the present problem of violence.

The goodly reverend should have explained to readers what and where is the nexus that attaches unions to violence across the island.

It is unfortunate that unions have been wrongfully accused of almost every conceivable economic and social ill there is – negotiating for excessive wages, giving succour and comfort to lazy and unproductive workers, holding the country to ransom and having outlived their usefulness – behaviour that Government or the owners of capital are hardly ever accused of.

Fortunately and thankfully, Rev. Lett is perceptive and honest enough to openly mention the priority that capital holds over labour in our economic model.

The truth is that capital can also be seen as a major reason for the promotion of the market ideology, rampant consumerism and the marginalisation of many at the bottom of the social ladder.

I do agree that part of the church’s mission should be that of a prophetic voice promoting social justice and the lifestyle of simplicity as stated in the Beatitudes, but to describe unions as toothless and one of the reasons for violence and social dislocation is to misconstrue the role they have played over the years in actually reducing and constraining the level of violence and crime in our society.

May I say that Barbadians of working-class background are acutely aware of the contribution unions continue to make for the betterment of the society.



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