Union leader makes recommendations

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The General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU), has put forward an argument for the incorporation of labour relations education in secondary schools in order to prepare young people for the  world of work.
David Massiah suggested that a team of labour educators should be approached to prepare training on labour education to be delivered in electronic format to students without clogging the school’s curriculum.
He added further that the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) should be approached to help craft a syllabus for the proposed course which should be made available to students sitting both the Caribbean Secondary Education and Certificate and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations.
“The Council of Human and Social Development of CARICOM should also be engaged in this venture. With the recent signing of the protocol on the rights of the establishment by a number of CARICOM countries, it is high time that workers requiring a CARICOM skills certificate should be exposed to formal labour education in the Caribbean,” Massiah said.
He was delivering the General Secretary’s address at the opening of the union’s 52 annual Delegates Conference on Sunday.
The Delegates Conference, being held under the theme “Preparing Workers for the Future World of Work,” is the highest decision-making body for the union.
During the two-day conference, the union leaders will review the activities of the organisation over the past year and see to the selection of new officers for the ABWU.
Meantime, emphasising the need to prepare workers for future advancement in the world of work, the union’s general secretary also stressed that the International Labour Organisation should be asked, as a matter of urgency, to convene a meeting of labour educators in the region to promote the demand for workplace training and re-training.
The union official said the significant human, financial and other resources to provide labour education in Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Suriname, where labour institutions already exist, must not be allowed to lose their value.
Massiah also called for the introduction of training representatives among shop stewards in the various union divisions.
“Their roles have to be clearly articulated and written into collective agreements. Additionally, training reps need to be taught about survey methods, convening and reporting on focus groups and report writing,” Massiah said.
He also encouraged workers to take greater responsibility for investing in their own skills.

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