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Caribbean unions' joint call for government action on contract labour

11 December, 2015Unions in countries across the Caribbean are taking joint action today, urging their respective governments to address precarious work and contract labour which is undermining decent work and sustainable jobs in the region.

Unions in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Suriname and Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago will deliver a letter from IndustriALL Global Union to their respective governments, calling for dialogue with the labour movement to reverse the growing use of contract labour.

The action follows on revelations at a recent IndustriALL Global Union Caribbean regional meeting that not only are private sector companies guilty of eroding workers’ rights through the prevalent use of contract labour, but the governments of the region were also increasingly using this form of employment.

Unions in the region want to draw attention to the role played by the public sector and state owned enterprises in the economies of Caribbean countries. A public sector where staff is changed frequently cannot provide a platform for sustainable economic development. All involved – workers, each territory and the region collectively – would benefit from the elimination of the scourge of contract labour.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina says:

“By nature, contract labour undermines workers’ job security making them vulnerable. This is not only at the workplace but also in their personal lives, restricting their options for personal development. Greater job security would result in a more motivated and in turn a more productive workforce, thus providing the foundation for increased growth and development.

“The transition away from contract labour towards decent work and sustainable jobs must not be implemented unilaterally by the region’s governments but must be executed through a process of dialogue and collaboration with the labour movement. Trade unions in the region look forward to working with their respective governments to achieve this objective.”