“NUPW vs BIDC” by Grenville Phillips II, SolutionsBarbados.com
The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has threatened national disruption due to their dispute with the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation (BIDC).
The wisdom of the Proverbs is instructive for those supporting one side of the dispute. “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbour comes and examines him.” (Prov 18:17)
Those wishing a fair resolution to the dispute should not prematurely take sides, but should rather insist on the integrity of the dispute resolution process. This includes insisting that the methods of resolving the dispute are fair and effective. Criticism should be reserved for the party that does not follow the process, or that frustrates the process through unnecessary delays. We recommend the following approach to the disputing parties.
If the NUPW believes that the BIDC has violated the Laws of Barbados, or a contract with the NUPW, then the matter should be resolved by a respected adjudicator appointed by both sides, who shall render a decision within 2 weeks. If either side is dissatisfied with the result, then the matter can be brought before an arbitration panel, who shall render their decision within 3 months. If either side is dissatisfied with that result, then the matter can be litigated in the courts. If they do not want to avail themselves of the potentially lengthy court process, then they can agree to be bound by the arbiter’s decision.
In the current process, both sides have reportedly met with the Minister. However, they should meet with an independent adjudicator and follow an agreed effective process through to the end. It appears to be too soon in the process for striking.