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Workers march for a cause

Mike King

Workers march for a cause

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To the strains of the Mighty Gabby’s ageless musical hits Jack and Windforce, hundreds of Barbadians with shirts inscribed with The Fight Must Go On and For A Better Pay Day revelled in the annual Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) May Day parade held on the outskirts of the capital.
They defied steamy morning heat to march from the Clock Tower at The Garrison to Browne’s Beach on Bay Street, stopping briefly in Culloden Road at the statue of this country’s most renowned unionist National Hero Sir Frank Walcott.
The parade attracted 16 organizations affiliated to the BWU, but there were countless other people of school age who seized the opportunity to gyrate and scream themselves hoarse along the route that took the group along Tweedside Road, Roebuck Street, Crumpton Street, St Michael’s Row and Bay Street.
The unquestioned highlight of the morning was the wreath-laying at the foot of the statue of Sir Frank, the former trade unionist, Member of Parliament and Barbados’ first Ambassador to the United Nations.
BWU?general secretary Sir Roy Trotman placed a wreath on behalf of the past general secretaries of the union while president-general of the union, Linda Brooks, laid a wreath on behalf of the union.
The Ministry of Labour is the lead agency in the Social Partnership, and Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo had the honour of putting down a wreath on behalf of the Government while Anne Reid was the representative of the Private Sector Association.
Assistant general secretary of the BWU, Orlando Scott, was delighted with the turnout by the various organizations.
“The parade has gone beyond expectations. None of the companies that have been part of the parade for the past ten years have left us. They were all here.
“Because of the tough economic situation, I, as the organizer, was a little fearful but the parade has been great. What has made it great is that a lot of workers who are not in companies formally in the parade have come along. They have asked for T-shirts and supported us well.
“In fact in a lot of ways, this year’s parade looks better than last year. The union is happy,” said Scott.
He added: “God has been with the Barbados Workers’ Union since 1941. If God didn’t think the union was doing what he wanted it to do, he would have shut it down ever since.”
One of the major players in the parade was the HIV/AIDS?Commission group led by Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett.
Scott said he was heartened at the involvement of the nurses and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, whose president Mary Redman placed a rose at the foot of the statue of Sir Frank.
Scott said he was also happy to have the assistance of the Barbados Defence Force, whose members helped coordinate yesterday’s event.