The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU), along with other workers’ organizations and employers, recently participated in a capacity-building workshop on the transition to a green economy. The workshop was facilitated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
In his welcoming remarks, ABWU General Secretary, David Massiah, said that a national conversation on the transition to green energy was critical, particularly from the point of view of the labour movement.
“This is an opportunity for us to have a voice in the transition from what we consider to be fossil fuels to green energy. It is our opportunity, at this stage, to ensure that what will happen in Antigua and Barbuda does not disadvantage us along the way, as workers and representatives of workers,” Massiah explained.
According to ILO Green Jobs Specialist, Carolina Ferreira, the main objectives of the workshop were to start a conversation among workers and employers about the “just transitioning” in Antigua and Barbuda. She said stakeholders needed to fully understand the impact of climate change and the implications of climate change policies on jobs and livelihoods.
“The actors of the world of work should be at the forefront of climate action and often times they don’t have the necessary knowledge or they are not very aware of why climate change and climate policies are relevant to them. So this workshop precisely aims at building this awareness,” Carolina explained.
The Green Jobs Specialist emphasized that there was a need for improved communication among employers, workers and the government. She also added that more work was needed to equip the workforce with the right skills to thrive in the green economy.
A comprehensive presentation on the nationally determined contributions in the fight against climate change was made by the Department of Environment’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Ezra Christopher. There was also a collaborative exercise on identifying concerns and priorities for workers and employers, with the aim of finding solutions.
The workshop participants included representatives from the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU), the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA), the Employers Federation as well as several employers.