The St. Lucia Seamen Waterfront and General Workers Trade Union wishes to express alarm at what it considers to be modern day slavery practices within the various service sectors providers here in St. Lucia. The Union over the past twelve (12) months has provided representation to unionized and non unionized workers and is disenchanted with the unacceptable working conditions and environment in which workers perform their daily duties; especially in the tourism sector.
The Union is appalled at what surmounts to an increase in modern day exploitation of workers. This situation warrants the urgent intervention and enforcement of the government Departments responsible for Labour and Environmental Health and safety, if the Trade Union is to meaningfully uphold and protect workers’ rights to health and safety in the workplace.
Job seekers are finding it very difficult to find employment as well as to find jobs that offers proper working conditions and pays fair wages. Domestic workers/cleaners, baby sitters, security officer, cooks, Waiters, Waitresses, Bartenders, Stewards, office clerks, customer service representatives etc. are some of the most impacted positions in which workers vulnerability are exploited. This problem is further compounded by the fact that many of these workers are very young, inexperienced and under-educated and quite eager to find employment.
Hence some employers knowingly take advantage of the situation and exploit workers by engaging in practices which compromise Health and Safety in the workplace. Employers blatantly engage in discriminatory practices resulting in workers being fire, threaten and intimidate for speaking out against such atrocities.
The St. Lucia Seamen Waterfront and General Workers Trade Union deems such behavior as unacceptable and is calling on those responsible, to act now and ensure that workers are protected (Trade Unions) in their stands against this growing trend. The Union wishes to note that it will not seat ideally and allow this to continue.