Unions in Dominica have made one more step towards greater unity and more effective representation of workers in Dominica.
Leaders of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU), the Dominica Association of Teachers (DAT), the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU) and Dominica Amalgamated Workers Union (DAWU) at a meeting of Thursday April 28, 2022, convened at the DPSU building on Valley Road, placed emphasis on the tremendous work done by public sector workers and those in the private sector to respond to these events and to help Dominica in its recovery efforts. The Unions agreed that workers must be better valued and regarded, and Unions must reclaim the observance of May Day, reignite the labour struggle and inspire greater interest in the relevance and critical role of trade unions in the advancement of society.
The meeting agreed that the issues confronting workers in Dominica are too important for Unions to remain quiet, apart, or discouraged by failed attempts at greater unity. The Unions present decided that it was time for action, to seize new opportunities and to address the challenges affecting workers.
- Very high on the agenda were the issues affecting workers in a COVID-19 era, particularly the issue of mandatory vaccination being flagged as a new condition of work or pre-requisite criterion for finding employment at a time when unemployment is high.
- The Issue of the implementation of the revised minimum wage also was discussed as a priority. The Unions further emphasized that every worker in Dominica deserves a better living wage and not just minimum wage.
- The issue of pensions was agreed as a priority issue. In the absence of a national retirement age, employees retiring at 60 are grossly affected, since Social Security benefits are now paid at 65.
- Occupational Health and Safety was highlighted. The issue of mental health and wellbeing of workers was emphasized. It was made clear that employers must ensure that the workplace is well sanitized and made safer for workers as well as for customers.
Other high priority issues were also discussed to include:
- Dominica’s participation in the International Labour Conference, reporting to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and for the Government to take steps to ratify Convention 190. It was noted that the last time Dominica ratified an ILO convention was in 2004.
- Precarious/contract work, victimization and discrimination of workers were also seen as issues to be addressed more fervently.
- COVID-19 has forced many workers to operate virtually and as such digitalization is affecting these workers and was cited as a priority.
The Unions at that meeting made a commitment towards greater solidarity and collective action and with the endorsement of their respective Executives, agreed to a joint statement, and to meet again in one week to put in place a plan for more concrete action and establish a more formal arrangement to treat with matters of mutual interest.
We the Unions, congratulate and celebrate all our workers in Dominica and wish to acknowledge all the employers who value their workers and respect their Trade Unions as equal contributors to production, innovation, and advancement in Society.
Solidarity, Liberty and Fraternity and a Happy and peaceful May Day 2022 to all.
Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU)
Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU)
Dominica Association of Teachers (DAT)
Dominica Amalgamated Workers Union (DAWU)
This 29th day of April 29, 2022 on the Occasion of May Day 2022.