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Labour Minister supports workshop for new public sector shop stewards

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Contact: Julita Peter

Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - Minister for Labour Relations, Public Service and Cooperatives, Honourable Velon John has thrown his support behind a February 26-27 orientation workshop organised by the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association for newly appointed shop stewards.

The workshop is aimed at providing participants with a full understanding of the fundamentals of trade unionism and the responsibility of shop stewards in the work place. Speaking at the opening of the workshop on Wednesday, the Labour Minister remarked that the CSA has to be commended for this initiative.

Noting that organizations are too often oblivious to the importance of and the need for orientation programs for new officers, the Labour Relations Minister added, “failure to orient new employees, in the approaches, process and systems that are applicable to their unfolding world of work, results in the work ethos being characterized by dysfunctional postures and attitudes.”

The majority of problems confronting working parties according to the Labour Relations Minister revolve around the absence of understanding. Notwithstanding the intricacies confronting shop stewards, the Minister is of the view that failure of shop stewards to understand the people whom they represent gives rise to a series of exacerbated situations.

He further called for stronger partnership between employees and employers, citing shop stewards as very instrumental in bringing about the process. The Labour Relations Minister also urged the shop stewards to acquaint themselves with international labour laws such as the ratified ILO convention, especially those relating to collective bargaining.

President of the CSA Dwight Lay states that as a trade union the CSA is faced with the monumental task of dealing with the rapid social and economic changes taking place. He added that the workshop is the beginning of measures towards developing a cadre of efficient shop stewards.

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