NWU Deputy President Tells Unions.
TRADE Unions on the island have been called on to change the way they do business as a result of the changing face of the workplace.
Solace Myers, Deputy President General of the National Workers Union (NWU) made the call Thursday during an address to welcome participants attending the NWU 2015 Annual Congress of Delegates at the Royal by Rex Resort, Rodney Bay.
She said: “Comrades, the nature of business has once again changed to ensure its survival. Business consolidation is the new order of the day. Rebranding and changing market strategies are some of the actions being taken to reinforce their longevity. This brings a whole new fight to the workplace. In Saint Lucia, the mergers involve regional heavy hitters which come with their own culture of doing things and getting things done.
“As trade unions, we have to accept the fact that it is no longer business as usual, that we too have to change and evolve in order to meet the challenges these mergers bring. We have to remain vigilant, we have to remain committed and we have to double our efforts. These developments highlight the fact that unionism, more than ever, is relevant and if businesses realize the need to re in-vent and consolidate for survival the movement has no choice but to come to the same realization and do the necessary to ensure its relevance and longevity.”
She called for cooperation and collaboration within the movement and for it to adapt to a changing workforce, a younger more results-oriented worker.
“Our representation must capture their nature, their aims and objectives, not only for the workplace but life in general. Business has already given its response to the changing market, labour must now respond accordingly. We must consolidate for survival,” Myers said.
She acknowledged that the road ahead was long and scattered across the path were stones and boulders that appeared to be permanent.
“We have to keep pushing forward, we have to make the right decisions and we have to do it all together. We have been able to achieve significant strides in spite of all that has been thrown at us. We have had to flex our muscles from time to time, but it is necessary as we continue to remind the powers that be that workers must be valued and the Union must be respected. We have come so far, we still have a ways to go. We will walk the path together” Myers said.
Myers, who is responsible for several branches in the NWU, added that every decision made in today’s environment affects how trade unions deal with and respond to situations tomorrow and that every day is pivotal for trade unionism and workers.
“Locally, the everyday pressures in the form of the value added tax and other taxes, and increasing food and utility prices continue to put a strain on everyday workers. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, while our middle class is diminishing. We are seeing a level of poverty that is frightening. There seems to be a pervading attitude at the top that everything must be kept there, in the hands and control of a select few. Comrades, are we not each other’s keeper? Surely, what is good for the top one percent must be good for the rest of us,” Myers said.