Union official calls for more dialogue between gov’t, unions and employers

General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union, David Massiah. (File photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

The government, employers and unions for the workforce are three important “pillars” to tacking labour related matters during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, according to the General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) as he calls for more discourse between those parties.

“All three have to come together in order to resolve the response to issues and crisis like we are facing. It cannot be isolated; it has to be one in order to develop.  We have to work together to develop policies that we can basically move over,” David Massiah remarked while speaking on Observer’s Big Issues programme yesterday.

He further urged the three arms to come together to prevent exploitation in the workplace.

“If we had some of the situations with social dialogue on the table, where we were talking already, issues of where employers are seeking to take advantage of the situation here now would not probably come up. Those people would read it out, because workers would have an understanding that the employer is sitting down with the union, with government, to come to the best situation that is there,” the labour relations specialist added.

Carla-Anne Harris-Roper, a labour relations specialist from Jamaica, also stressed the importance of interchange between employers and employees.

The principal of Employment Matters Caribbean encouraged that dialogue saying: “When things get tough, your first port of call is not to throw up your hands and say this is not working and walk away. You should be trying as best  as possible to work through and to work out the challenges now.”

Meanwhile, Employment and Labour Law consultant in Trinidad, Dr Jamille Broome urged employers to “be ready for what’s coming next.”

He stated that employers must use this down time to focus on “making sure that they are still marketable, ensure that their skills are still up to date, making sure that they’re ready to hit the ground running.”

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