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BWU Elected as Vice President of the 19th Regional Conference of the Americas

The Executive Council of The Barbados Workers’ Union (B.W.U.) congratulates the General Secretary, Senator Toni Moore, on being elected as a Vice President of the 19th Regional Conference of the Americas. Senator Moore was one of three Vice Presidents elected at the conference. The Government Vice-President is Ms Graciela Sosa of Argentina and the Employer Vice-President is Mr Severo Sousa of Panama.

The conference took place in Panama City, Panama from the 2 – 5 October 2018 with discussions surrounding the Report of the ILO Director General “Preparing the Future of Work We Want in the Americas Through Social Dialogue”. In the introduction of the Report, the Director General stated “The discussion on the future of work is part of the times in which we are living. Profound and rapid changes are generating transformations that directly impact labour markets and this leads to anxiety and to doubts about the future: what will happen to the jobs of the future? Where will our children work? … And their children?

2. The 19th American Regional Meeting takes place in Panama at a time when discussion and reflection on these transformations are occurring throughout the world. And the ILO has taken a leadership role in addressing this issue through an initiative on the future of work. 3. In pursuit of this reflection, a Global Commission on the Future of Work, convened last year by the ILO, will present its report next year, clarifying the strategies and directions we need to take in order to create the future of work we want, based on the premise that the destination has yet to be written and that we can bring our influence to bear in order to mitigate its negative impacts and make better use of the opportunities it provides. 4. Latin America and the Caribbean are not exempt from these concerns nor are the United States and Canada”.

A number of thematic plenary sittings were held: the first being Preparing the future of work we want: Policies for sustainable, productive development for sustained and inclusive growth, with more and better decent jobs. The second Preparing the future of work we want: Policies to promote the transition from the informal to the formal economy and to respond to accelerating technological change and to diverse forms of employment. The third was Preparing the future of work we want: Measures and policies to strengthen and redesign institutions in the world of work, including social security, and to ensure that trade union and labour rights are fully upheld and the Fourth Preparing the future of work we want: The digital economy and labour skills and competencies

The Regional Conference of the Americas takes place every four years

IUF International Fast Food Workers' Meeting

Comrade Dwaine Paul, Deputy General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (B.W.U.) is among the delegates of the affiliates of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF), who are attending the IUF International Fast Food Workers’ meeting, which began in London on Tuesday, 2 October.

In recent years, activities from IUF affiliates have taken place in solidarity and support of a growing number of fast food workers fighting for their rights and decent wages and conditions. Thousands of fast food workers in several countries have joined the three International Fast Food Workers’ Days, and participated in a variety of actions including leafleting, demonstrations and strikes. Global protests have been organised to demand the right to join or form a union, to highlight poor working conditions and wage theft, zero-hour contracts, low wages and precarious employment. The Fifth International Fast Food Workers’ Day is planned for Thursday, 4 October, which, incidentally, is the 77th anniversary of the B.W.U.

The elaboration of a broader strategy than can unite and strengthen fast food workers and the unions that increasingly represent them is among a strategic programme planned by the IUF for the next five years. The programme will also deal with the following issues:

  • explore with affiliates the potential value of company-specific networks of union representatives to share knowledge and any progress establishing union membership and collective bargaining processes in those companies;
  • enhancing the international fast food workers network amongst affiliates active within the sector and strengthen regular communications amongst these affiliates;
  • deepen research on key fast food companies and enhance the degree to which the research is shared and understood amongst affiliates;
  • continue to map union activity and engagement in the sector world-wide;
  • strengthen our capacity for collective and concrete solidarity action in support of fast food workers facing rights abuses in the sector; and
  • continuing to expand the footprint and visibility of the international struggle of fast food workers around the world.

The IUF is an international federation of trade unions representing workers employed in agriculture and plantations, the preparation and manufacture of food and beverages, hotels, restaurants and catering services, all stages of tobacco processing and is composed of 416 affiliated trade unions in 128 countries representing over 10 million workers.




BWU Members' Appreciation Day

As part of the activities to mark its 77th anniversary on Thursday, October 4, the Barbados Workers’ Union will be organising the annual Members’ Appreciation Day at Union headquarters, “Solidarity House”, Harmony Hall, St. Michael, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The annual Schools’ Outreach seminar/workshop for students of secondary schools, which will be a key part of the day’s programme, has been designed to prepare students for the world of work and will deal with issues such as interviewing techniques and the Social Media: their effects on the school and personal life. Ten workers, representing affiliates of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, are among the thirty-one young workers who are attending a seminar/workshop at the Frank Walcott Labour College, will participate in the programme.

The outreach programme is open to the public and will consist of activities such as HIV testing, mini manicures, pedicures as well as make-up demonstrations.

The BWU Celebrates World Day for Decent Work

The Barbados Workers’ Union will be joining workers around the world to celebrate World Day for Decent Work under the theme, “Change the Rules” on Sunday, October 7 and in the following days.

This year’s theme, “Change the Rules”, highlights the deeply entrenched injustice of the global economic system alongside shrinking democratic space and deteriorating labour rights in many countries. This year the focus is on the world struggle for living minimum wages and a pay rise for all workers. In this regard the B.W.U. will be continuing the mobilisation campaign, which it launched last year, in support of marginalised workers such as domestic workers, security guards, service station employees. Additionally the BWU will seek to highlight the plight of these workers during the Annual Regional Youth Seminar which will be convened at the Frank Walcott Labour College at Mangrove, St. Philip.

According to the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, under whose aegis World Day for Decent Work is celebrated, the rules are stacked against working people, and that is why we have unprecedented and destructive levels of economic inequality and insecurity while a small number of global conglomerates like Amazon amass incalculable riches for a few. She argues that there is enough wealth in the world to meet the challenges of our time –creating decent work for all, ensuing universal social protection, tackling climate change and all the other things that need to be done to ensure that people can live in dignity on a sustainable planet.

Ms. Burrow’s view is that the rules need to change, and to achieve that, we need to build workers’ power.

The World Day for Decent Work is an important milestone on the way to the ITUC’s World Congress which will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, where the workers will finalise an ambitious and comprehensive trade union agenda for change and economic renewal.

Ms. Burrow stated that this year unions and other progressive movements will mobilise around October 7 to show their determination to reclaim democratic space and overhaul the rules of the global economy through organising, campaigning and advocating for a better world.

Edward Evelyn Greaves, GCM, 1940-2018

The Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union (B.W.U.) is deeply saddened at the sudden passing of its former Deputy General Secretary, Edward Evelyn Greaves, G.C.M, 78, who died in Barbados on Saturday, 23 September, 2018.

Comrade Greaves, who joined the staff of the B,W.U. in 1968 as Head of the Labour College, went on to distinguish himself in the field of trade unionism, particularly in the area of worker education as well as in politics, and diplomacy. He was the Parliamentary Representative for the parish of St. Lucy, from 1971 to 1981 and during the period 1986 to 1994, he served in the Cabinet of Prime Ministers (Rt. Excellent) Errol Walton Barrow and (Sir) Lloyd Erskine Sandiford. His devotion to service and his wide-ranging career in public life also included a stint in the Senate from 1981 to 1986, Secretary/Treasurer, acting, of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, Senior Workers’ Specialist at the ILO Office in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and latterly as Barbados’s High Commissioner to Canada.

Comrade Greaves made an indelible and enduring contribution to the spread of trade union education and the resulting stability of the industrial relations system in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in his position as the Head of the BWU Labour College which was established at Mangrove, St. Philip in September of 1974. The Labour College, from its inception in September, 1974, has had an open door policy in relation to the training of workers from affiliates of the Caribbean Congress of Labour. Prior to Comrade Greaves’ engagement as Head of the College and later as Principal, trade union education was carried out on a seasonal basis, at first with the “Summer Schools” which were conducted at Codrington College in St. John and later at the Union’s property, “Unity House”, on Roebuck Street in Bridgetown. Greaves’ work in trade union education was further expanded with his appointment as Senior Workers’ Specialist at the ILO Office in Port-of-Spain where he was responsible for the coordination of worker training and education from Suriname in the south to Belize in the northwest of the region.

Apart from his contribution to the workforce in Barbados in the area of trade union education, Comrade Greaves was the founder President of the Barbados Workers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union, which was established in October of 1983. That institution had a humble start in a room at “Solidarity House” before its move to the building which housed the original headquarters of the Union at the corner of Fairchild and Nelson Streets.

Comrade Greaves was honoured with the award of The Gold Crown of Merit for his outstanding contribution to the trade union movement in Barbados.

Comrade Greaves’ many successes in public life came as no surprise to those who knew him as he had devoted his entire life to the service of his fellowman. From his youth onward, he invested much of his energies and resources in the institutions especially the church and clubs in the rural parish of St. Lucy where he was born, raised and served as a Parliamentarian. That spirit of service and charity was clearly manifested in his professional pursuits in the disciplines of trade unionism, politics, and in diplomacy, and this was strongly evidenced by the tremendous outpouring of love and respect as contained in the statements made by friends work colleagues and observers following his passing.

Educated at Coleridge and Parry, Harrison College, the University of the West Indies and Rutgers University, his was a life well lived. He took full advantage of the opportunities which came his way. As has been reflected in the developmental role he played at St. Clement’s Anglican Church, he acknowledged the divinity of his Creator, treasured family life and was charitable to those in need.

The Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union extends its sympathy to his wife, Francilia, his daughters Laura-Lynn and Stacy, his grandchildren, as well as his siblings and the other members of the Greaves family.

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