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Wage Plea - Food Chain Urged To Pay Workers Well

Barbados Nation, 1 May 2000

The Budg-Buy food chain, still locked in a legal battle with the Barbados Workers' Union over the severance of supervisors, has been warned against oppressing its workers.

At the same time, staff were assured that they are working for a "different man" as of yesterday.

In a rededication service for the group of companies yesterday, Pastor Vincent Wood admonished the supermarket chain to pay its workers at the bottom good wages; and to seek out a poor customer each month from its seven branches and give them a monthly $50 voucher.

"You are working for a different man," Wood told workers during the service at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, in which Budg-Buy's executive chairman Edwin Worrell knelt at the altar and rededicated his life to God.

The pastor said he was disturbed by the lack of appreciation shown by some who lived a lie every day, by giving the impression that they always had the prosperity and success they now enjoyed.

Speaking to a gathering that included Acting High Court Judge Leroy Inniss, public relations consultant Ricardo Blackman, former Permanent Secretary Elsworth Young, and David Millington, chairman of the Barbados Water Authority, Wood said that in order for any business to go forward, God must own all of it.

The Budg-Buy group includes the supermarket chain, Care Mart, Pinnacle Foods Inc., the Carlisle Bay Centre, Rainbow Reef Hotel and Catelli Foods.

"Those of you in charge (should) not oppress anybody. That is what God wants me to tell you. Pay good wages not only to those at the top, but remember those who are at the bottom and pay them good wages," the pastor said.

He also reminded the congregation that God was very displeased with those who oppressed the downtrodden.

"You must do the things that God wants you to do. So search out 12 of your poorest customers and give them $50 in groceries free, a different customer each month. I don't know if you are going to do it but it is what God wants me to tell you," said Pastor Wood.