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BWU launches division for domestic workers

YVETTE BEST, [email protected]

BWU launches division for domestic workers

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Some domestic workers in Barbados are afraid of becoming unionised.

Champion for the local group, Larry Mayers, and assistant general secretary/tutor with the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), Wilma Clement, made the disclosure at the launch of the Domestic Workers Division of the union at Solidarity House on Saturday evening.

Mayers, a popular radio personality who is the product of three generations of domestic workers, said the workers were afraid of losing their jobs.

“I now have to go and with the help of Wilma, and with the help of [BWU general secretary] Toni Moore, [former general secretary] Sir Roy [Trotman] and people who know the history and understand the business of unionism, I have to come to the game again like a little child. Because we have to be able to convince these workers that there is no real fear, that the fear is really in our minds,” Mayers said.

He said they also had to bring the employers on board.

Clement acknowledged the fear workers were grappling with, but charged the small group already on board with speaking to others about the Domestic Workers Division and bringing them into the fold.

Moore said she was “excited” about the launch, even though it was “regrettable” it took 76 years for the BWU to get around to formalising an arm for one of the most vulnerable groups in society. The launch coincided with the observance of World Day For Decent Work.

She said a number of benefits were on the cards for that special set of workers when Convention 189, which dealt with domestic workers, was ratified. Among them were vacation leave and pension. (YB)