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IndustriALL builds presence in the Caribbean

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6 December, 2016An IndustriALL Caribbean regional council has been created to strengthen ties between unions and IndustriALL's presence in the sub-region.

At a meeting held in the Caribbean island of Curacao on 21-22 November, unions agreed to establish an operating structure to help strengthen union power and deliver effective solidarity and joint action. The newly-formed council also agreed to take joint action in support of unions in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, which are currently under attack. 

The meeting was preceded by a one-day women’s workshop aimed at identifying ways of strengthening the participation of women at all levels of the labour movement, from the rank-and-file to the global level.

The meeting was hosted by the Petroleum Workers’ Federation of Curacao and chaired by Ancel Roget, President General of the Oil Workers Union of Trinidad & Tobago (OWTU) and substitute member of the IndustriALL Executive Committee.

“These two meetings mark important milestones for the work on industriALL in the region," said Jorge Almeida, IndustriALL regional Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The newly-formed council is made up of eight member unions and four candidate member unions. The members are affiliates from Trinidad & Tobago, Curacao and the Dominican Republic. The candidate members are potential affiliates from Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, St Lucia and Suriname.  The council plans to reach out to unions in Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Guadalupe, Haiti, Jamaica and St Vincent.

Contact people have been identified in each country to help coordinate outreach to potential affiliates within a single country as well as to assist with outreach to unions in countries where they have close ties. In addition, two women contact people will be tasked with gathering information on women at work and in unions.

The Council will hold an annual meeting once a year. The national contact people will meet face-to-face twice a year as well as via teleconference. The council will be chaired for the next four years Ancel Roget of the OWTU, whose union will coordinate the work of the council. 

“In almost every Caribbean country unions are struggling against the same neo-liberal government strategies, including the denial of union registration, the growing use of precarious work, attacks on acquired rights and benefits, as well as cultural attacks on trade unions. This new structure will help build union power to defend workers in the face of these attacks, and this in turn will strengthen IndustriALL Global Union,” concluded Ancel Roget.