May Day must remain a public holiday, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Toni Moore has warned.
She made the comments in response to an article in another section of the media in which Executive Director of the Barbados Employers Confederation Sheena Mayers-Granville said that businesses would suffer at least $48 million in losses as a result of four public holidays, Good Friday, Easter Monday; National Heroes Day and May Day.
Moore told the BWU’s annual thanksgiving service at Solidarity House yesterday that May Day, which will be celebrated on Wednesday, was a day of reflection for workers who deserve it.
“I didn’t hear it, I read it in the paper today, that the Executive Director of the BEC is lamenting the number of public holidays that there are and has taken the time to calculate the cost of these in dollar terms of productivity lost. But I want to say to the Executive Director of the BEC as I also say to the Minister of Labour and Social Partnership [Colin Jordan], and the head of social development who is representing the Government here this evening, that May Day is one holiday that they are not going to touch. May Day is here to stay. So if we believe, as I have heard everybody else say here this evening, that we were created to work, and we must celebrate workers and we must celebrate the value of work, that day can’t be taken from any celebration,”
She said this was why she was urging all Barbadians to participate in the May 1 activities, to remind themselves and those who are not convinced, of the value of workers, and that workers too need a day for positive rest and reflection.
“And I know that there are some workers that if they don’t get it one way, they get it another. And we don’t want to see that happen. So I am sure that in our calculations of productivity lost, we know that there is productivity to be gained. When people feel respected and appreciated and that they are valued, they continue to give value to the development of this nation,” Moore said.
This year’s May Day celebration has been themed: Revive Re-energise”.
Minister Jordan said the theme chosen was relevant and essential at a time when there was a need for increased productivity.
He said a progressive BWU should acknowledge changes, challenges, and encourage members to adapt and re-energise in the current economic climate.
“To workers, I say that we have to up our game. We have to be more productive. To business owners and managers, I say we have to treat people fairly, especially our workers. People have to treat people like people.
At the start of this May Day’s celebration. I re-affirm my Government’s commitment to the cause of workers. It was a cause demonstrated by us, ensuring that workers were not placed in a position, to take the brunt of the economic adjustment,” he said. (AH)