On the occasion of the celebration of the island’ 50th Anniversary of Independence, the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), as the representative voice of Barbadian Labour, proudly salutes the nation on this achievement.
As a champion of the interest and welfare of the working class people and that of the total Barbadian citizenry, the labour movement of Barbados is conscious of the fact that the achievement of the milestone of 50th years of independent nationhood, has rested on the people identifying with the national motto of Pride and Industry.
In reflecting on the transition from a colony of the British Empire to a sovereign independent state, it is the pride, resilience and the industrial nature of the people, which have contributed in large measure to the building of the platform, so as to enable the country to conquer the many hurdles it has encountered over the past fifty years.
It is to the credit of the nation that it has overcome those hurdles, which threatened to impede its path to progress, sustained growth and development. Barbados has long emerged from the shadows of external political control, and has graduated to the point where it is self-governed. Building on the shortcomings of the colonial past, it is significant that the country has now developed an internal management three structure known as social partnership mechanism. This engages the primary stakeholders of government, labour and the private sector.
With respect to its preserve, the labour movement has remained steadfast to the practice of the voluntaristic system of industrial relations, which is predicated on the exercise of the principle of good will. This has contributed immensely to the promoting of consensus building, the outturn of which has been the maintaining of a harmonious and stable labour environment.
Today as Barbados celebrates fifty years of independence, the labour movement as a stakeholder, can be justly proud of the prominent role it has played in the furtherance of the country’s development. Its successful championing of labour and human rights, labour standards, ILO Core Conventions which have been embraced by successive governments, and the introduction of new and progressive labour legislation, have been major features which are rooted in the development the nation has recorded to date.
The labour movement can also take credit for having vigorously promoted the social protection floor, which has redounded to the benefit of both organized and unorganized labour.
It is important that as we celebrate the role which organized labour has and continues to play in the nation’s development, led by progressive and dynamic leaders over time, that credit is given to them for having working collaboratively with successive political directorate, towards ensuring that Barbados meets the global challenges thrown up in the post independent era. Also of national significance is labour’s contribution to maintaining a harmonious labour climate, and an enlightened and productive labour force. As Barbados looks forward to the next fifty years, the labour movement recommits to putting Barbados first, as this is vital if the country is to achieve its development goals, become more competitive, maintain its political stability, and to achieve sustained growth and development. Notwithstanding its small size and population, Barbados has gained global recognition in many facets of life.
To its credit this country has been a success story. As a proud people, we must nonetheless remain conscious that in a rapid changing global environment, it is imperative that Barbados does not sit on its laurels nor become complacent. Instead, it is for the nation to build on past achievements. Over the next fifty years, Barbados must through its actions and what it presents to the world, send clear signals that it is prepared to position itself as a competitive global player.
In this regard, labour assures the nation that it will continue to play its part in the building of a better Barbados. If we are to achieve this, then there is need for us to ensure that there is a united Barbados, where there is commitment to promoting collectivity over self-interest, productivity over inactivity, greater empowerment and engagement of the workforce and the populace at large, a greater level of inclusiveness, and encouraging new forms of work through the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation. It is envisaged that the success of an independent Barbados over the next fifty years, will be measured against the backdrop of its unswerving commitment to the ideals of efficiency, transparency, accountability, the upholding of standards a
and the observationof best practices.
As the workers’ movement congratulates Barbados on attaining 50 years as an
independent nation, let us as a people go forward guided by the words of the second verse
of our national anthem, which reads:
The Lord has been the people’s guide
For past three hundred years.
With Him still on the people’s side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.