Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is convinced that the recently proclaimed Employment Rights Act will make life in Barbados better for workers and employers, while “contributing massively” to the further development of this society.
Stuart shared this view Wednesday while addressing the May Day celebrations hosted by the Barbados Workers’ Union at Browne’s Beach, St. Michael.
He said the act was intended to ensure that the relationship, which up to now was still an unbalanced one between employers and employees, was regularised so they would all know their rights in the workplace.
“And, I am pleased to have been head of Government at the time when that piece of legislation passed both Houses of Parliament and at its proclamation as well…,” he stated.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the BWU had assisted with the Employment Rights Act and he lauded the work of the 72 year-old institution, saying it had been in the vanguard of the struggle of workers in Barbados, the Caribbean and the world.
“Whether you look at the social contribution of the BWU, the political contribution of the BWU or the economic contribution of the BWU, the fingerprints of this Union can be found all across the social, economic and national life of this dear country of ours…,” he declared.
Stuart highlighted some of the BWU’s outstanding initiatives as the establishment of the Labour College, the first in this region; and a housing project to meet the demands of low-income workers.
He told those gathered that they belonged to one of the greatest workers’ organisations in the world and encouraged them to remain loyal to it. “Continue to build it because the items on its agenda in 1941 have not yet been exhausted. There are still many issues that 72 years after its formation, the BWU still has to be wrestling with in Barbados. Issues such as the recognition of a trade union…
“And, that is why the workers have to make sure that this union is not weakened because it has an unfinished agenda, it has a continuing agenda which is to make life better for the workers, not only in Barbados, but for the workers of the Caribbean and workers across the world,” the Prime Minister stressed.
General Secretary of the BWU, Sir Roy Trotman and Executive Director of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, Tony Walcott, also addressed the ceremony.