Prime Minister, Doctor Kenny Anthony, in his capacity as head of the CARICOM delegation to COP 21 in Paris, has been written to on behalf of several Caribbean trade unions urging Caribbean leaders to engage with the labour movement to address issues relating to climate change.
The trade unions last week discussed the need for a sustainable policies in the Caribbean given the impact of climate change, when they attended a Caribbean regional meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, hosted by the IndustriALL Global Union.
The November 29, 2015 letter on behalf of the participating unions was signed by the Assistant Secretary General of the National Workers Union, NWU, of Saint Lucia, Johann M. Harewood.
Harewood noted that the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters in the recent past throughout the region is evidence of the impact of climate change.
According to him, as recent experiences have shown, the impacts of these disasters are not only physical.
“While indeed infrastructure is severely damaged there are also major negative impacts for the economies of our region, this is of major significance given that the majority of the region’s economies are resource based e.g. tourism for the OECS countries and energy for Trinidad and Tobago,” Harewood said.
The NWU Assistant General Secretary said this fact combined with the status of the member countries of the region as Small Island Developing Countries, increase the region’s vulnerability in the face of climate change.
“We join together as regional unions, and with the workers’ movement globally to demand climate justice and a just transition, “the letter said.
With specific respect to the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, Harewood said the unions are demanding a fair, ambitious and binding treaty on climate change.
In this regard, he said the unions look forward to partnering with governments of the region to ensure that the region is able to face and overcome the challenge of climate change.