Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur says Barbadians must come to terms with the economic situation in the country.
Arthur made the statement in the wake of a 48 hour ultimatum issued to the government by four trade unions that are demanding a reprieve from the austerity measures announced by Finance Minister Chris Sinckler in the May 30 Budget.
The former Prime Minister told Barbados Today that the leadership of the unions have asked some serious questions.
“What happens are 48 hours? Are you going to close down the country? If you force the minister to do what you want, what are going to be the repercussions.”
Arthur, who was also Finance Minister warned that the “vast” economic problems could not be solved by “political theatre or gimmickry”.
The four trade unions – the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) on Tuesday staged a march to protest against the 400 percent hike in the National Social Responsibility Levy
The unions are demanding that there be a reduction in the levy, saying that if this is not done, they will take industrial action.