By Theresa Goodwin
Union leaders are being told to adopt new strategies and policies in order to deal with the new and emerging issues impacting the world of work.
This was the sentiment that echoed around the hall of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) as union members and the executive gathered on Sunday for their 55th annual delegates conference under the theme, “Uniting Workers with a Renewed Vision.”
General Secretary David Massiah used his address to highlight a number of recent changes, for example, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Covid pandemic, as well as other issues which have impacted the way that people would generally look at issues in the workplace.
He said that these have impacted the way negotiations are done to ensure safeguards are in place for workers within the public and private sector.
“The social partnership model comprising private sector and government must have as its primary interest, the welfare of the working masses. Our private sector has shown the capacity to adjust to globalisation, and we have all witnessed the huge successes in tourism, CBI and other initiatives.
“Trade Unions have to work together to ensure that our political parties and our economic elites maintain the highest standards required of them. As trade unions, we must constantly recognise that our main interests are members, and the classes, and associates of their members,” Massiah said.
He also explained that it is becoming clearer and clearer that the voice of the Trade Union has to be varied to suit the political environment.
He said that to remain relevant, the Trade Unions must employ a number of strategies to do their work effectively.
“Podcasts are to be utilised more than before. It is now necessary to use more podcasts, more electronic meetings than ever before in our history. This calls for the partnership between our old members, who are not familiar with the technology, and the younger ones who are.”
Union President Kem Riley also spoke to the need for unions to be more proactive.
“Our union is presently at the fore of discussions on how to transition to green energy as well as climate change which will impact thousands of jobs. The time has come for us to place greater emphasis on the involvement of women and young members,” Riley said.
The conference continues today with business sessions.