The trade union movement is in need of young blood and the old heads must accept that “their roles have evolved” and they should step back and trust the youth to carry the movement forward, a former trade unionist has argued.
Former Vice President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Julian Hunte, made the case for youth involvement in trade unionism in an address at the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados’ (CTUSAB) Midterm Delegates Conference this morning.
Hunte, who is the Group Human Resource Manager at Goddard Enterprises Limited, said while older and more experienced trade unionists still had an important role to play, the active participation of young people was necessary if the movement were to survive.
“Older trade unionists must eventually accept that their roles have evolved from leading the charge at the front to stepping back and providing mentorship to the young soldiers.
“Young trade unionists must embrace the value of the presence of older trade unionists in whom invaluable institutional knowledge is reposed,” Hunte said in his feature address.
He stressed that his call for mentorship did not mean the more experienced leaders had to “run out into the battlefield”, but that they should provide “quiet words of guidance”.
He maintained that with the vast number of knowledgeable trade unionists that Barbados can boast of, the upcoming young leaders should be well schooled in the art.
“The next set of trade union leaders whose names will soon be household names in Barbados if they are not already, deserve to be quietly guided and equipped to do as they have been prepared to do, and then trusted to go forth and execute their mandates,” Hunte said.
In an address delivered earlier CTUSAB president Cedric Murrell had also called for more young people to get involved in the trade union movement.
Murrell also encouraged those who were already involved to “spearhead the engagement” of their peers in order to get them interested “in the trade union movement of which we are all proud standard bearers.”
This year’s conference had as its theme, Empowering the Youth, and coincided with CTUSAB’s 20th anniversary.
During the day’s proceedings Chief Executive Officer of the National Initiative for Service Excellence Kim Tudor received CTUSAB’s special award. The union also installed officers of the Youth Committee.
The five-member committee is comprised of Chairman Virgil Theodore, vice-chairman Asha Yearwood, secretary Deysha Yearwood, assistant secretary Kemar Grecia and public relations officer Kimberley Agard. (RB)