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Trade unionist Burke retiring at yearend


Trade unionist Burke retiring at yearend

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After more than 40 years in the trade union movement, acting general secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Delcia Burke, will be retiring at the end of the year.

Burke, 68, told Starcom Network she was leaving at a time that was going to be very difficult for the trade union movement, especially in the private sector.

“To my mind, this is the roughest it has been since I started working in the trade union movement, including back in the 1990s. The public servants have not felt it as much, but of course I am monitoring what is happening in the private sector. There are a number of things happening that don’t need to happen.”

In the 1990s, there was a period of austerity under the Erskine Sandiford administration that led to marches after an 8 per cent salary cut and layoffs for public servants.

Burke agreed with her Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) counterpart, Senator Toni Moore, that businesses were using COVID-19 as an excuse to “take advantage of workers”.

She advised workers to join a trade union because the numbers made the union stronger.

Burke assumed the post of NUPW general secretary at the start of 2019 after serving as deputy general secretary. She joined the NUPW in 1986 with 12 years’ experience as an industrial relations officer with the BWU. (SAT)