“Representing Women and Domestic Workers in a Post Pandemic World” was the theme for Tuesday’s meeting of the IUF Caribbean Regional Women’s Conference.
The session brought together dozens of women trade unionists from across the region, with the aim of developing recommendations to assist women in recognizing and defending their rights in the workplace.
In addressing the conference, IUF General Secretary, Sue Longley, said the Covid-19 pandemic had forced the global Trade Union Movement to refocus its attention on Occupational Health and Safety.
“I think that Covid-19 really made us look again at what we needed to do in the workplace to ensure that the workers we represent are protected not just from Covid-19 but from the many injuries, from the many illnesses that we know can affect women, women workers — that can affect all workers around the globe,” Longley said.
Ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 190 also formed part of the discussions. Longley noted that violence and sexual harassment in the workplace was endemic in the agricultural, hospitality, and fast-food industries.
The IUF General Secretary was optimistic that the meetings would help to devise strategies to have more countries in the region ratify Convention 190 and provide recommendations on how the IUF could strengthen its work on the elimination of violence and harassment in the workplace.
Tuesday’s meeting concluded with the election of the IUF Caribbean Regional Women’s Committee which will serve for the next five years. The committee comprises members of the previously serving Interim Women’s Committee. The officers are as follows:
Sis. Ronaldine Burgess: President – Bermuda
Sis. Shakeda Williams: Vice President – Barbados
Sis. Andie Stephen: Secretary – Antigua & Barbuda
The IUF General Secretary posited that a formally constituted Caribbean Regional Women’s Committee was an “important step forward” in women’s involvement and participation in the Trade Union Movement.
The IUF Caribbean Regional Meetings continue on Wednesday with a meeting of the Caribbean Regional Committee, followed by the 6th Caribbean Regional Conference on Thursday and Friday.
The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union and the Antigua Trades and Labour Union are jointly hosting the sessions.