Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Colin Jordan has made a plea for unity in the labour movement, while addressing the nation’s trade union congress.
While acknowledging that Government recognizes the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) as the umbrella body of the trade union movement, Jordan said there was a well-known division.
Back in 2013, the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) withdrew from CTUSAB.
Then BWU general secretary Sir Roy Trotman said a deteriorating relationship between the two entities was the primary reason behind the decision.
But speaking at CTUSAB’s Midterm Delegates’ Conference at the 3W’s Oval at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Jordan said while he saw CTUSAB as a valuable partner in the tripartite arrangement, he wanted to see unity within the labour movement.
The conference was held under the theme, Celebrating 100 Years of Workers’ Achievement with the International Labour Organization (ILO): A Review of the Impact Made on Labour Relations.
The Labour Minister said: “I am aware that there is a bit of division in the labour movement and I will say it again, and I think I have said it last year, that I am calling for some rapprochement where there can be again some unity in the movement.
“Government has, in its drive to move the social partnership idea across the Caribbean, just gotten the Conference of Heads to agree that both the labour movement and business will be represented at meetings of the CARICOM Heads of Government and that will be done through the Caribbean Congress of Labour representing labour and an organization that is in the process of being developed to represent business across the Caribbean.
“And, so, when we speak to our support of social partnership, we are speaking not just of a concept that arose in the early 1990s, but it is one that we believe in. We’ve seen it work and we continue to see it work even today,”
Commending CTUSAB for engaging its members in the work of the ILO, he said the theme was appropriate as Barbados had made significant achievements in labour laws since becoming a member of the United Nations labour agency in 1967.
Jordan said: “If we fast-forward 52 years to 2019 and with 40 ratified conventions, Barbados, a small island developing state, has come in for much praise for its work with the ILO over the years.”
The praise for Barbados also came during the hosting of the ILO Sub-Regional Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour held here in May. [email protected]