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Expats are scared of joining unions - Talk show hosts

- Richard C. de Castro & Bevin A. George said workers in the territory have no one looking out for them & the threat of being sent home for joining a union hangs over them
Could the aversion to joining labour unions have to do with a fear of reprisals to expats? Photo:
Host of Speak Your Mind Richard C. de Castro. Photo: VINO/File
Host of Speak Your Mind Richard C. de Castro. Photo: VINO/File
Guest of the talk show Bevin A. George. Photo: VINO/File
Guest of the talk show Bevin A. George. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Television talk show host Richard C. de Castro and co-host Bevin A. George have expressed their concern over the continuation of workplace abuse in the territory, saying that the large number of work permit workers makes it difficult for there to be any worker representation.

They were speaking on the Speak Your Mind television talk show aired on Saturday evening May 7, 2016 on JTV Channel 55.

“Unfortunately we don’t have strong unions and strong persons who look out for the interest of workers, as in some other countries. Because if we had strong unions they would look after such individuals,” de Castro said.

He noted that one reason for the reluctance could be the fear of being "put on a plane" and sent home.

“I guess it is because of the large [number] of work permit holders, they are fearful of the repercussions,” de Castro continued.

George added that such a fear is well founded, as they may think if they sign up with a union or any other sort of representative body the authorities may take their work permit and send them home.

“And these people came here to make a better living for themselves. I don’t like that...holding that fear over somebody’s head,” George said.

De Castro is of the opinion that the phenomenon could break eventually as one can only mistreat workers for so long.

“After a while it is going to change and there is going to be a revolution I think,” he said.

Unions deemed necessary

For years, another commentator Donald E. de Castro has been advocating for labour unions as a way of keeping employers in check with regard to the way employees are treated.

The issue of trade unions again came to light when de Castro made some scathing comments in response to a statement by Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering while speaking at an event last year March. Hon Pickering had said he was happy there were no labour unions in the Virgin Islands to represent the interest of the labour force and that this was a "blessing" for the territory.

De Castro called the Minister’s statement disgraceful, shameful, unacceptable and a complete insult to the intelligence of the workers of this territory. He said there are so many people in the labour force and there are so many issues and that the Labour Department cannot deal with them.

The talk show host further said unions are not just about strikes and work stoppages and noted that in the early years when unions were formed, they were a big help to the working man and they made a lot of progress, improving the conditions in the workforce in the workplace and creating benefits and bargaining units.

11 Responses to “Expats are scared of joining unions - Talk show hosts”

  • ... (09/05/2016, 08:30) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    some get fired for eating a chicken or getting some water
  • Xxx (09/05/2016, 08:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Revolution will be digitized! No Justice, No Peace!!!
  • Expat (09/05/2016, 09:09) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who expatriate would want to join a union with Donald deCastro when he does not have no respect or like them. What happen to the one he started, who were the officers and where are the articles of the union.
  • wize up (09/05/2016, 09:20) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    why you 2 guys dont form a union: the one fellow trying to form a union for over 20 yeras now.....
  • ccc (09/05/2016, 12:06) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need a union but not with the likes of donald decatro
  • now (09/05/2016, 14:29) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Where to sign up
  • ginger (09/05/2016, 15:17) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    who is that young man in the photo I thought public officers are not suppose to be in these things?
    • foolish ginger (10/05/2016, 10:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      If you don't know your facts stop you noise. The boy is not a public officer.
  • So true (09/05/2016, 20:08) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is something I always wonder, since I am living here in the BVI. I am a employee at a certain private company and I have seen employee being fired for no particular reason, talk to with no respect from there employer and as a holder of a work permit I am not scared of no employer, but I wonder sometimes really WHY DONT THEY HAVE UNIONS here.
    • Really? (11/05/2016, 06:10) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      Really? I see locals being made redundant just so there is enough money to afford more expats. I see locals being told they are not qualified enough just so an expat can be brought in. I see expats not training the so-called unqualified locals in a desperate bid to hold on to their jobs. I see locals remaining in the same position year upon year with no promotion whilst expats are being brought in to fill more senior positions. This seems to be the new norm, but not for long!
  • ask me (11/05/2016, 22:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I,ll tell you that most of these grumbling expats should forget about joining a union and concentrate on joining the human race.

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