Unionized Dockworkers Training In St. Lucia

June 17, 2015

Dockworkers who are members of trade unions affiliated to the International Transport Workers’ Federation [ITF] — including Bermuda — are in training in St. Lucia this week on a new tool to assist them in bargaining, negotiating, campaigning and organising in their ports.

Representatives from unions in eight countries across the Caribbean have come together in Rodney Bay to gain skills in using the dockers’ port intelligence portal [DPI].

“The vision for DPI is that it will hold information about ports and port workers from all over the world,” said DPI Caribbean co-ordinator and subregional ITF co-ordinator Ann Anderson of the Clerical and Commercial Workers’ Union of Guyana.

“In some circumstances unions in the Caribbean are negotiating with the same global multi-national employers just in different locations, so a docker working in Barbados could ultimately be employed by the same company as a docker in the UK.

“DPI is a tool to connect those workers so they can access information on the terms and conditions, the latest developments and the issues that are affecting workers in other ports.”

It’s the second global training session of it’s kind in 2015; the first took place in March in Jakarta, Indonesia. Training is planned for workers in Jordan later in the year.

Training participant Pheila Wilson, a port worker in Port Vieux Fort-St Lucia Marine Terminals Ltd, and a member of the National Workers Union of St Lucia said, “DPI is about having information available at your fingertips which is going to help you get the best deal for members in negotiations and bargaining with employers.

“That in turn is great for organising new members. When they see the wins we can achieve for workers locally with that kind of information it demonstrates the support and strength you have when you’re part of a union and part of a global union family.”

Participants will also be working on skills to help them secure provisions on HIV/AIDS in their collective bargaining agreements. The ITF is committed to providing support to affiliated unions in their work to end stigma and raise awareness around HIV/AIDS and to establish it as a workplace issue.

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