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The BWU Has Been Asked to Consider What Underlying Ethic Will Inspire Its Engagement in the Next Twenty-Five Years
Monday, 10 October 2016 09:01

The Barbados Workers’ Union has been asked to consider what underlying ethic will inspire its engagement with Capital, in particular, and the society, in general, as it navigates the next twenty-five years.

Taking his text from Luke 17: 16, The Rt. Reverend Dr. Jeffrey Gibson, Dean of St. Michael and All Angels Cathedral, in delivering the sermon at a service to-day, to mark the B.W.U.’s 75th anniversary, suggested to the B.W.U. that the text, read in the context of today’s world, and, in particular, contemporary Barbadian society on the eve of the celebration of the nation’s 50th anniversary of independence, one might want to embrace the challenge to making “inclusion” an integrating principle in the Union’s endeavours.

Dr. Gibson suggested that there is an element of restlessness in society and the neighbourly spirit which had nourished our people through the years has been severely eroded. He showed, as examples, the evidence of his claim as: the increase of stress on the family; the prevalence of non-communicable diseases; and the increase in the nature and intensity of violence.

According to Dr. Gibson, these features make the situation ripe for the emergence of an integrating principle – an ethic to guide our people towards the future. He suggested that it is quite appropriate to celebrate the achievements over the years, but it is equally important to assist the nation in charting a future where each person would be able to realise his or her fullest potential, and collectively, our people attain a common destiny.

Dr. Gibson said the B.W.U.’s membership of 25 000 people provides a sufficiently wide base to influence the attitudes of households across Barbados. He suggested that the skills which the B.W.U. has fashioned in negotiations through the years could help more people to appreciate that the concept of ‘the winner takes all” has gone. According to Dr. Gibson, the time has come for the celebration of ‘the dignity of difference’ where an inclusive attitude and spirit helps humanity to eliminate those features which continue to rob it of its dignity and to limit its capacity to reach its full potential.

“In other words, the B.W.U. can help our country to build moral capital: ‘the kind of communal solidarity that nurtures personal character, trust, and a capacity to build a decent life’, he said.

Dr. Gibson told his congregation, as they hear the biblical message today, we rejoice with the Barbados Workers’ Union in the celebration of its 75th anniversary of service to our country. He recalled that the B.W.U. was born in the midst of World War 11, October 4, 1941 – twenty-five years before Barbados attained its independence from Britain. He added that during that early phase, and indeed, throughout its development it has championed the cause of Labour and has contributed to the social, economic and political development of Barbados. He noted that the 75th anniversary is being celebrated against the backdrop of major achievements which include better conditions for work such as holiday with pay and maternity leave, National Insurance and social security and hosing development at Mangrove, in St. Philip.


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