Kem Riley – ABWU President
The Gaston Browne Administration has failed to treat with seriousness and urgency many international conventions on Labour issues. The ratification of ILO conventions, such as C190 on Workplace Violence and Harassment, has been watered down to mere publicity exercises under this Government. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.
While we are pleased that Antigua and Barbuda was the first island in the Caribbean to ratify C190, we are mindful that the full intent and benefits of this convention will not be realized unless a national policy and local legislation on workplace violence and harassment has been drafted and enacted into law.
Ratification therefore, is only a preliminary step in a more expansive process that will result in thorough protection for workers. Given the track record and modus operandi of the Labour Minister, we are moved to insist that the next steps in this process be treated with priority.
To date, the Government has failed to enact legislation on several ratified ILO conventions which are due to come into force in a matter of weeks.
We also urge the Government to involve all the social partners ―including the Labour Movement, in the formulation of a national policy on workplace violence and harassment.
For too long, this administration has deployed a deliberate strategy of circumventing the Labour Movement while ignoring the well-being of workers. This disgraceful tactic must end!
The ABWU was active in the global campaign for the ratification of C190. In January, Industrial Relations and Training Officer, Hazel Luke, participated in a virtual forum on Convention 190, hosted by the Women of the Americas Caribbean Committee of UNI Global Union.
The Union intends to become even more vocal as the Government proceeds to develop a national policy on workplace violence and harassment, including gender-based violence.
The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union reiterates its zero tolerance standard on workplace violence and harassment and reaffirms its commitment to do everything in its power to ensure that workers are safe from all forms of violence and harassment to include physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.
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