Sunday 18 August, 2019

Make employers accountable for treatment of disabled community

General Secretary of The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), Dennis de Peiza.

General Secretary of The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), Dennis de Peiza.

The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) is calling for fair and equitable treatment, access to educational and employment opportunities to be given to members of the Disabled Community.

CTUSAB cemented a relationship with the Barbados Council for the Disabled on February 28 this year, when they publicly launched a yearlong Employment of Workers with Disabilities Project and it is continuing its efforts to advocate for this community.

Under the project, CTUSAB proposed to work in collaboration with the stakeholders in promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), paying particular attention to the education and awareness.

Dennis de Peiza, General Secretary of CTUSAB said they believe that those who are physically and mentally challenged should be provided with access to all opportunities in the educational system, including entry to any formal examination at any level.

This position according to Mr De Peiza, is supported by that of the Social Partners, as is expressed in Section 5:10 of Protocol 6, under the caption of Persons with Disabilities. That Section reads:

“The Social Partners acknowledge their individual and collective responsibility to ensure the existence of an environment which will allow the full integration and participation in society of all persons with disabilities, but more especially their obligation to eliminate marginalization and discrimination in respect of the access of persons with disabilities to education, employment, and involvement in the socio–economic development of Barbados.” 

Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Council for the Disabled over the weekend, he said despite this being supported by the social partners, one must examine if the social partners in government, the private sector and labour, have fallen short of delivering on expectations and if so, where they have fallen short.

He made reference to the findings of a survey commissioned by CareerBuilder.com and Kelly Services Survey Shows, Chicago, Illinois, which found that forty-four percent of workers with disabilities reported they have experienced discrimination or unfair treatment. Of those who reported the discrimination or unfair treatment to their employers, six-in-ten said the offender was not held accountable.

“This is unacceptable and therefore raises the vexing question as to whether the charge of discrimination could be levied both at government as an employer and those employers within the private sector. 

"At the risk of being harshly criticized, I contend that the private sector in Barbados may well be the chief perpetrator of such an unjust practice,” he boldly stated.

He explained that his assertion is based on the fact that “employers are generally guilty of making a relationship between the disability and reduced productivity.”

In moving to correct this wrong, he is calling on employers to have good employment policies in place which will merit the confidence of those persons with disabilities.

He contends that too many persons with disabilities are overlooked by human resources managers, not on account of their lack of knowledge, skills and expertise, but because of the perception held about the individual’s supposed suitability for the job, which is based primarily on their ailment.

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