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Labour unions urged to work towards establishing a congress

by: Dominica Vibes News - April 20, 2017
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Deputy Labour Commissioner Eric Mendes

Deputy Labour Commissioner Eric Mendes has called on labour unions to work towards a trade union congress.

Mendes made that call while addressing the Dominica Teacher’s Association (DAT) nineteenth National General Meeting at the Goodwill Parish Hall on Wednesday April 19, 2017.

A trade union congress brings together unions to devise common policies, lobby government, campaign and represent workers.

Mendes said, “I want to use the opportunity that has been given to the Labour Department…to call on all the labour unions in Dominica, please for the sake of your members, not for yourself but for the sake of your members, please put aside whatever differences that you may have and work and do whatever is required to ensure that a congress becomes a reality.”

The DAT held its meeting under the theme A Trade Union Congress: Consolidating for Greater Effectiveness in the Future’.

Mendes stated that listening to the address by keynote speaker Secretary Treasurer of the Waterfront and Allied Workers’ Union (WAWU) Kertist Augustus many positive attributes of having a trade union congress was listed.

However he said, “The question that must come to one’s mind is if a trade union congress has so many benefits, why is it at 2017 we in Dominica cannot form a Trade Union Congress?

Mendes, who has been engaged at the Labour Department from 1999, said he has “witnessed what goes on between the unions…I’m sure that a lot of you here are aware there is a lot of infighting among our unions”.

He congratulated the DAT for its accomplishments, referring to an address by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in the DAT’s meeting magazine.

“I would like to congratulate especially your president and your executive for the work that you are doing on behalf of your members I think you are doing a tremendous job,” Mendes said.

“I want to call on your members to stand with your executive, it’s nothing more disheartening if your executive calls on you for support and you’re not there; I know how that can be. So I’d like to exhort you and call on you to continue to stand behind your executive, continue to rally behind your union, continue to show solidarity with your union,” Mendes said.