A trade union is a representative body for workers which serves to protect and advance the interests of its members. Therefore, the trade union is often involved in negotiations with employers to make arrangements for pay and other conditions of employment. A trade union is said to be recognized when an employer agrees to enter such negotiations with the trade union. The process in which the trade union gains recognition is called "Trade Union Recognition".
In Barbados, the Trade Union Recognition process involves the following:
- On receipt of claim for Recognition by the Union, the employer requests the Labour Department to conduct a survey. The Labour Department then contacts the employer requesting the employer to provide the list of employees in the categories in which the Union is seeking recognition. Where the employer does not make the request, the Union may so do or the Labour Department, of its own motion may request compliance of the employer. This list should correspond to the payroll list and employee classification.
- When this employer list is received by the Labour Department, the Labour Department notifies the Union and arranges a meeting at their premises, in which the totality of the Union's list, always in card form is presented by the Union. This list provided by the Union constitutes the bona fide/signed up membership of employees of the particular enterprise.
- All members and officials associated with that Union are then requested to leave the room so as to provide absolute privacy to the Labour Officers who are conducting the survey.
- The Union's list is then checked and purged for any anomalies or inconsistencies e.g.
- whether employee name on the list provided by the Company checks out or matches those on Union's list;
- whether there are membership signatures after effective date of recognition claim by Union;
- whether the numbers tally, either by category or overall, etc.
- Any anomalies or unusual findings are noted for study or query or explanation by either party, when thought necessary.
- The Union's list is then checked off by matching against the employer's list and the numbers are recorded.
- A record is made and both parties are informed as to the numbers in the findings.
No less than two labour officials are involved in a survey and the process is completely confidential.