Mayday celebrations 2020 was one with a difference as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the normal format of the celebrations as workers were unable to gather or march due to social distancing protocols and other stringent measures.
The Grenada Trades Union Council hosted this year’s celebrations virtually by using every available online platform under the theme “GUTUC Celebrating 65 Years Educating, Empowering and Building Capacity Among Workers.
President of the Commercial and Industrial Workers Union George Mason in his address spoke on a number of issues affecting workers, particularly workers being forced to take vacation leave because the pandemic prevents them from going to work.
He said that they cannot allow workers to lose their vacation at this time for what they are not responsible for.
According to Mason, a state of emergency has been declared on the country and therefore because of the lockdown that was implemented some of the workers are unable to report to their various workplaces and companies are unable to provide transportation for their workers, they are now asking them to take vacation leave and Mason uttered a resounding NO to such actions taken by these companies.
President of the Public Workers Union Rachel Roberts said that the union would continue to dialogue and work with employers in the interest of all of its members and they shall on a regular basis ensure that the needs of frontline workers are met.
“Workers your union shall remain vigilant and committed with the support of our regional and international bodies in protecting your best interest”, she indicated
She added that the union salutes and thanks all its members and workers who are on the frontline.
President of the Grenada Trades Union Council, Andre Lewis said while he applauds government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, he is not satisfied that the council has been sufficiently involved in the decision-making process with regards to Covid-19 on issues that affect all workers across the country.
The trade union movement he continued, must be respected as the voice of their workers, “we have seen the blatant refusal of the Grenada Government to engage the Grenada Trades Union Council to find a collective approach to this crisis”. He noted that government did not want the involvement of the trade unions and the labour movement; unfortunately, they made decisions that affected labour without the involvement of the labour movement.
The government, he recalled failed to involved the labour movement even in discussions regarding industrial relation issues or issues pertaining to the health and safety of the affected workers.
Lewis further mentioned the many contract workers who government and other entities refused to add to the permanent workforce but have answered the call and continue to report to work on a daily basis.
There were also addresses by other union leaders including the General Secretary of the GTUC, Bert Paterson.
President General of the Bank and General Workers Union, Justin Campbell and Cephas Chase, Trustee, Seamen and Waterfront Workers, Vice President of Grenada Technical & Allied Workers Union, Shirlene Herbert and General Secretary of the Grenada Manual, Maritime and Intellectual Workers Union, Oscar Williams.
On that day workers wore their various union, t-shirts and posted images of placards and posters on social media.