Barbados’ largest public sector trade union is celebrating 75 years of “consistent” representation for the country’s working masses and is promising more of the same in the years ahead.
Union officials including President, Akanni McDowall, acting General Secretary, Delcia Burke and Acting Assistant General Secretary, Wayne Waldron gathered at the Church of the Nazarene, Collymore Rock, St Michael on Sunday morning to mark the beginning of Public Workers’ Week 2019.
Minister of Labor and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan and Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Marsha Caddle were also in attendance.
Addressing the congregation, Minister Jordan lauded the NUPW’s legacy, while lamenting the fact that the ruling Barbados Labour Party had itself emerged from the struggles of the working masses.
“Seventy-five years of existence says a lot about the organization and its conduct and we want to congratulate you and encourage you to keep fighting for the cause of workers while embracing the fact that as times are changing, things have to change and we’re modernizing; but we do that realizing that people are the most important,” Jordan said.
He also commended union leaders for signalling their intention to grow with the world’s swift technological advancements.
“It tells me that the union recognizes that times are changing and that even though people will remain the most important aspect of any country and its growth and development, it has to embrace the changes that developing technology brings.
“I think it is appropriate that the National Union of Public Workers, recognizing that workers are the foundation of a country, a society and an economic structure, also recognizes that people have to interact with technology,” said Jordan.
The union’s week of activities will include a panel discussion, games evening, health fair and business conference among other events. In just over two weeks on April 3, the union is also expected to welcome a new executive committee as polling stations open in various departments across the public sector.
McDowall in his address noted that the union, which has encountered trying times of late, remained committed to progressing on its three quarters of a century long legacy.
“Brothers and sisters in Christ, the union that I am humbled to serve was founded in 1944 and registered as a trade union in 1964. Despite its ups and downs which are not peculiar to any organization around, it is rich in history and achievement and bound by a legacy of service,” said McDowall.
He also credited the visionary leadership of previous general secretaries and presidents with laying a foundation of a union that has remained in the “vanguard of wonderful representation,” which has also sought to reach out and give back to the membership via numerous initiatives. (KS)