Secretary/Treasurer of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU), Kertiste Augustus has supported a Trade Union Congress in Dominica saying it guarantees that the voices of individual unions will be heard.
Speaking at the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Dominica Teachers Association (DAT) on Wednesday at the St. Alphonsus Parish Hall, he, however, said there are a few measures that need to be taken on the union member’s side and that of the Congress.
He stated that within the establishment of a Trade Union Congress, increased efforts from the union members and organization of such congress must be up to par.
“The unions must be visible and vocal in the establishment of such an organization. There are a number of things which must be done to realize a Trade Union Congress in Dominica,” he explained. “In the first place, we must all want and be committed to the formation of such an institution or organization. We must develop a respect for that organization, we must have or develop confidence in that Trade Union Congress that we are about to establish, and importantly we must be prepared to participate fully in the Trade Union Congress,” he said.
Augustus added that a Trade Union congress begins with negotiations of a constitution between the unions interested in the formation of such an organization.
Within a typical constitution, according to him, there must be important positions and activities including; Preambles, an executive council, President and Vice President, memberships, benefits, and much more.
“Having approved of the constitution of the congress, the unit must be prepared to adhere to the articles of the constitution and the rules of the organization. In that regard, the rules can cover what can be done and what must not be done. The jurisdiction of operating can be defined and guidelines determined,” Augustus stated.
He added that there are many benefits of the congress which include a single, unified voice speaking on behalf of the various unions.
“I note, in your document that the Prime Minister made reference to the fact that as a Trade Union Congress, we will be speaking with one voice,” he confirmed.
More benefits of the congress include the consolidation of laborers position on any issue that impacts “or is likely to impact” on the union and workers, as stated by Augustus.
“A trade Union Congress will be in a position because it’s very numbers, to forcefully request of our administration an audience to discuss a number of concerns such as crime and violence, drug creation, illegal drugs, to name a few,” he said.
Augustus added that with the establishment of the Trade Union Congress, the independence of the individual member organizations “will be guaranteed,” and that the term ‘solidarity’ has to have “real meaning” within the congress.
“Support will be required to be extended to member unions when needed to bring about a resolution of an issue confronting that unit in congress. The number of workers that can be brought into the case can have a real impact in resolving the issue,” he remarked.
He stated that the congress must in itself a quick response to the concerns of union members, which should reflect the mandate of the D.A.T. constitution.
The DAT AGM was held under the theme: Consolidating for Greater Effectiveness in the Future.