The President of the St. Lucia Trade Union Federation (TUF), describing workers as the backbone of the economy, urged adequate compensation and respect for them.
“There can be no development without workers,” Julian Monrose told a May Day rally.
He explained that’s why the trade union movement must ensure it continues the struggle so that every worker can have a decent wage, good fringe benefits, a safe and healthy work environment, and respect in the workplace.
“It doesn’t make sense you’re just paying workers well but you think you can disrespect them as you please. They must be respected. There must be freedom from all forms of harassment, whether sexual or otherwise,” Monrose declared.
He asserted that the trade union movement could not ignore those matters.
According to the TUF President, those issues should be daily considerations.
“We have to stand firm. There are things that you negotiate. There are things in the process of negotiation – you give and take,” the former Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU) President explained.
But Monrose stated that the trade union movement must stand firm on principle in some matters.
He called on all workers to familiarise themselves with the latest International Labour Organization (ILO) convention about harassment and violence in the workplace.
He told his audience that given the kind of contribution workers are making, the trade union movement will continue to defend employees’ rights to demand the economy’s building in a way that responds to their needs and aspirations.
The TUF President pointed out that the workers are building the economy and must see the benefits.
“Too often when things are bad workers are asked to make sacrifices whether it is in the public sector or the private sector,” Monrose observed.
But he lamented that when the workers make sacrifices and things get better, they are still asked to make more sacrifices.
Monrose thanked the government for paying the one percent salary increase to civil servants in keeping with a signed agreement.
In this regard, he asserted that the trade union movement would have kept some people quiet once and for all.
Monrose recalled that the movement, without any fuss, understanding the situation with public finances at the time, offered the government at the time to defer the one percent.
He declared that this exposed the ‘lie’ that trade unions choose the administration they cooperate with.
Headline photo: Julian Monrose (Stock image)