BTUC General Secretary Labour Day Message

September 5, 2023 | 1 Comment

[Labour Day message from BTUC General Secretary Kevin Grant]

One of the main reasons why we celebrate Labour Day is to acknowledge and show appreciation for the many benefits that our forefathers fought for that we are able to enjoy today.

Benefits that are being challenged every day it may seem however an important aspect of these challenges that we as unions must be able to address is change.

There have been a number of changes happening where we as unions find ourselves transitioning. Some of our stalwarts have stepped down from their positions, these include Bro. Ed Ball Jr, Bro. Dr. Mike Charles, Sis Molly Burgess – all former General Secretaries of major unions and names that we all should be aware of and give our appreciation for their contributions to trade unionism in Bermuda.

The unfortunate passing of trade union icon in Bermuda Bro. Ottiwell Simmons has imprinted a legacy of trade unionism that must be built upon. Also when we think of some of the stalwarts who were influential in organizing the Labour Day event, we must acknowledge Bro. Colin Simmons of the BIU and Sis Leleath Bailey of the BPSU who have stepped down form the Joint Labour Day Organizing Committee.

I am mentioning these individuals for us to realize that change is happening all around us.

The jobs are changing, the workplace environment is changing and the workers are changing and so it behoves us as unions to adjust accordingly in order for us to continue to provide effective and efficient representation for our memberships.

Changes to how we operate and function in these precarious times will be critical to our future as Unions. A prime example of this occurred recently when our Sister Union the BIU lost over 600 members due to the closing of one of our major hotels, and so these uncertain times are a reality. And speaking of realities, there is still the reality that there are many unscrupulous employers who exist in this island and who have no appreciation for the work of unions, and unfortunately there are those employers who say they have an appreciation for unions but their actions send a different message. These are the challenges that unions face on a daily basis.

However, to be better prepared to meet these challenges, we as unions will be building upon the solid foundations that have been established and setting new strategies to address issues that can invigorate our infrastructure .

We are enhancing training and development for effective capacity building within our unions.

We are modernizing our policies and procedures, improving IT infrastructure, enhancing membership database-promoting good governance and transparency.

We must continue to enhance communication and membership engagement, these are just a few examples of initiatives that we as unions must embrace to face future challenges.

Major challenges like the high cost of living and health care are having a devastating impact on the purchasing power of our members and the wider community.

There are a number of initiatives that the government have put forward through the recently released Economic Development Strategy. It is imperative for the continued social dialogue between the government, employers, and unions to come to the forefront, as it is through this process that we can have the critical dialogue to implement the necessary policies, with a human centered approach that addresses the economic challenges we are facing.

One of the most important things that I have learned as a trade unionist is that no one man or one woman is bigger than the Union- we are bottom-up organizations that speak on behalf of our members. We must continue to remember that strength is within numbers and that we are only as strong as our memberships allow us to be.

We must acknowledge those who fought for the rights of workers- and I specify workers because it’s not just the members of unions who have been able to have vacation leave, maternity leave , sick leave, bereavement leave—more recently we have seen paternity leave -for fathers to spend more time with newborns and also the prohibition of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.

These are just some of the many benefits that the labour movement has put in place, that we as workers are able to benefit from today. Lest we forget Brothers and Sisters.

click here banner Labour Day

Read More About

Category: All, News

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “We are modernizing our policies and procedures, improving IT infrastructure, enhancing membership database-promoting good governance and transparency.”

    Including submitting audited accounts to the Registrar General?

Leave a Reply