The trade union movement has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt quite recently that it is one the most fragmented and reactionary segments in post-Independence Barbados.
This fragmentation of national consciousness is best seen in the way that the various “leaders” have approached power and key negotiation questions and speaks much about the philosophical and ideological bankruptcy of many of them.
Often one hears about some trade union “leader” climbing upon his or her soapbox and spouting divisive, obsequious rhetoric that does nothing to unify the movement but only to build barriers, derail decades-old protocols and principles and weaken the hard-fought gains of the workers, attained through blood, sweat and tears.
Who are these fawns seeking to lead with nothing but doublespeak and vacillation emanating from them persistently? Can anyone tell me why so-called experienced “leaders” cannot sit down behind closed doors as an umbrella body and hammer out a common approach to the opposition out there, whether it is black or white? Can anybody tell me why these so-called “leaders” cannot see past their own stupid, weak, dead-end positions of fighting for turf?
Why is it too difficult to have one teachers’ union when the Barbados Workers’ Union has various divisions that are not even remotely connected but can co-ordinate action and responsible responses to the opposition out there when necessary?
Why must there be principals’ unions for both levels of the education system when they both work for the same employer and basically do the same thing?
Why is it necessary for every Jane and Johnny to be seen and heard disagreeing on issues that are more political than strategic and expect to be respected by other sister unions and their members out there?
If these sowers of division had any common sense, they would realise that the movement as a whole is going to be held responsible for their selfish, attention-seeking tactics, and the base upon which they think they stand as “leaders” will one day ultimately be eroded.
When other racial and political groups sit down in this country to decide the fate of the majority, they do it behind closed doors and emerge after much deliberation and internal fist-fighting to enunciate a common position and speak as one voice. They do not involve themselves in character assassination and spout proverbial bedroom business in public. When will black people learn?
This imbecility has to stop or we will all one day be physically enchained again. No two people ever see everything the same way. We disagree over many things, but as long as we are fighting the same cause for the same things, we have to learn to compromise and conveniently forget the showmanship and chest thumping in order to achieve the tasks that were mandated to us.
We have to learn to live together as brothers and sisters fighting for common upliftment or die apart as fools.
– IAN A. MARSHALL