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Decent Work for Domestic Workers' Launch

As part of its campaign to urge the Government to ratify ILO Convention 189 on Domestic Workers, the Barbados Workers’ Union (B.W.U.) will launch the “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” drive at its headquarters, “Solidarity House” on Saturday, October 7, beginning at 4:00 p.m.

The launch which signals the B.W.U.’s embrace of the domestic workers seeks to guarantee that there is no infringement of domestic workers’ rights to fair wages, overtime pay, paid vacation, human and labour rights, such as occupational safety and health. The B.W.U. is therefore calling on all domestic workers and interested citizens to rally in support of domestic workers as it seeks to bring about change for this category of workers.

The launch is appropriately being held on the 10th anniversary of The World Day for Decent Work, on which the 181 million member, Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is appealing for global mobilisation by trade union organisations to stand up for decent work, while calling on Governments to place decent work at the centre of their actions to bring back economic growth and build a new global economy that puts people first.

Of significant relevance to domestic workers, this year the global focus is on the world struggle for minimum wages and a pay rise for all workers. Trade unions are calling on governments to heed the call from working women and men for decent wages, safe and secure jobs, and an end to greedy corporations setting the rules for the economy. This means ensuring that minimum wage-floors must be enough to ensure a decent standard of living, and that all workers must have the right to join a trade union and bargain collectively.

Massive Open Online Course on Fair Wages

The Global Labour University is launching the new Massive Open Online Course on Fair wages Strategies in a Global Economy. It will start with a FacebookLive Discussion with experts from IndustriALL and the International Labour Organization on 24 October 2017 at 13:00 p.m. UTC.

The course offers global networking theory and [practice skills for trade unionists on fair wags, collective bargaining and minimum ages. Participation is free of charge, and it costs 49 pounds Sterling for a certificate. There is a programme to study towards a certificate for free scholarship.

Why should you be motivated to study this course? Well, billions of workers around the world have no regular income or do not even earn a wage sufficient to live a decent life. Wages for many workers have been stagnant and most economic gains have gone to the top of the income pyramid.

Why do income inequalities .continue to increase in so many countries? What role can collective bargaining and minimum wages play in reducing social and economic inequalities? What constitutes a fair wage?

Colleagues you should join this new online course to learn and discuss these and many other questions with experts from universities, the International Labour Organization and the international trade union movement.

You can watch the course trailer and enroll for free on  

The course starts on 24 October 2017 with a Facebook LiveDiscussion. Register on to join the Facebook Live. You can also enroll and catch up whenever you have time.

BWU Appeals to Membership to Help Dominica

The Barbados Workers’ Union has launched an appeal to its members, past and present, to contribute towards our brothers and sisters in the Hurricane-ravaged island of Dominica. The Executive Council of the B.W.U., at its meeting on Wednesday, September 20, pledged to assist in the relief efforts being made by Barbados and is appealing to the entire Union family to move with urgency to donate.  Please click here.

National Workplace Wellness Policy

A team, representing the Commission for Chronic Non-Communicable Disease, the Ministry of Labour, the Mental Health Commission, the Psychiatric Hospital, and the Barbados Workers’ Union, met at the at “Solidarity House” on Wednesday, February 1, to continue work on the preparation of the proposed National Workplace Wellness Policy for Barbados.

The coordination of the Policy is being done by Dr. Dwayne Devonish, senior Lecturer in Management Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

The team will continue work on the policy on Thursday, February 16, starting at 9:00 a.m.

Retirees' Health Project

The Barbados Workers’ Union is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to devise a healthy living initiative for its Retirees. The project, which will be organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Health’s Health Promotion Unit, aims to introduce monthly sessions that include physical exercise classes, health education and peer support with a view to influencing the establishment of healthy behaviours in a 65 year plus demographic.

The objectives of the healthy lifestyles project are:

  • to explore participants’ attitudes toward the development of healthy behaviours and healthy behaviour improvement; and
  • educate the participants on benefits of healthy eating and physical activity as these issues relate to non-communicable diseases

The project will commence on February 16th, and end on June 15th – a follow-up survey will be completed four months post intervention.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, among developing countries Barbados now has one of the highest portions of older persons. 1n 2005, 17% of the population was over 55 years of age and this is anticipated to increase to 26% of the population by the year 2020. An aging population is often a reflection of effective policies and programmes. However, an aging population often comes with concerns that affect all sectors of society, including the health sector.

Good health allows seniors to be productive and independent in their later years. However, NCD such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes can diminish the quality of life of seniors, raise health care costs and ultimately increase pressure on family members who are responsible for their care, according to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

According to the Barbados Health of the Nation Survey, 50% of adults aged 65 years and over are at a 10% risk of stroke or heart attack over the next ten years. In addition, almost one in two of those persons aged 65 and older are hypertensive. It is evident that the non-communicable disease epidemic has greatly affected the older sector of the population.

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