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Trade Unions Unite For May Day 2006

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Thursday, April 27, 2006 - Plans are well ahead for celebration of May Day, the International Workers Day, on Monday, May 1st.


But May Day 2006 promises to be a very different one, as it will be the first time this important day on the workersí calendar will be celebrated under the umbrella of one united national representative trade union body.


The Saint Lucia Trade Union Federation was established last year comprising nine trade unions representing the vast majority of the unionised workers in the country. Since then, the new Federation has been working as a unit to address issues of common concern to the islandís trade unions and the workers of the country.


Historically, the unions celebrated May Day together at one venue. That process continued up until 1997, when the unions began celebrating separately at different localities.


Some employers have also been arranging their own observances for workers in various forms, from lunches and special tributes to picnics and sharing of profits with workers.


However, this year the Federation is seeking to return to the earlier days of united celebrations. To this end, its constituent members are coming together to observe the annual International Workers Day 2006 under one umbrella.


President of the Federation, CSA President Mr Joseph Dosserie, says a programme of activities has been prepared by the Federation for Monday, when the umbrella body will host a May Day rally at the CSA Centre at Sans Soucis.


According to the programme, he says, the proceedings will begin at 9:00am on May Day with morning devotions by Monsignor Patrick Anthony and a welcome address by CSA General secretary David Demacque.


This will be followed by the Presidentís Address, to be delivered by Mr Dosserie, the first he will be delivering to a May Day rally.


A highlight of the event that will be reminiscent of the past will be greetings from fraternal unions, including the member-unions of the Federation, as well as from other fraternal organisations at home and abroad.


Another important feature of the celebration of May day this year will be messages to the members of the trade unions from Government and Employers. In this regard, Labour Minister Hon. Velon John and President of the Saint Lucia Employers federation Mr Malcolm Charles are also expected to deliver addresses on behalf of their respective organisations.


Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony is also among those invited to attend and address the May day celebration.


The feature address is expected to be delivered by Director of the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) Miss Emma Hippolyte, whose institution is the guardian of the pensionable financial benefits of the nationís workers.


A special feature will be the paying of special surprise tribute to a deserving veteran trade unionist who, according to the Federationís President, ďhad contributed steadily over the years to keeping alive the call for establishment of a joint trade union federation in Saint Lucia.Ē


Following the morningís proceedings, the workers and trade union officials will join with their special invitees for lunch and an afternoon of entertainment that will last until 6:00pm.


The Saint Lucia Trade Union Federation comprises: the Civil Service Association (CSA), the Saint Lucia teachers Union (SLTU), the Saint Lucia Nurses Association, the Seamen and waterfront General Workers Union, the Saint Lucia Farmers Association, the Police Welfare Association, the St. Lucia Fire Service Association and the Vieux Fort and General Workers Union (VFGWTU).

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