KINGSTON — The Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute (TUEI) opened a two-day conference to establish a road map for trade unions to ensure their “relevance and sustainability” at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge on Thursday (May 26).
The conference is the Institute’s main contribution to the celebrations surrounding the annual Workers’ Week anniversary which ended on Labour Day, May 23.
The conference dubbed “A Road Map for Trade Unions: Relevance and Sustainability”, featured brief addresses from Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) President, Lloyd Goodleigh, as well as the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF), the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
It is sponsored by the trade union institute with support from the German political foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies and the JCTU and is being attended by representatives of the trade unions, JEF, the Government and academia.
Head of the TUEI, Danny Roberts, told JIS News that the need for the conference arose from arguments about the relevance of the trade unions in the 21st century, against the background of economic and social crises.
“The idea to hold the conference came out of roundtable discussions at a symposium titled, “Whither the Trade Union Movement, the Next Decade” hosted by the institute in accordance with the first anniversary of the death of Professor Rex Nettleford,” Mr. Roberts said.
The Conference is expected to be repeated across the region to develop a Caribbean roadmap for trade union renewal.
In 1963, the Trade Union Education Institute (TUEI) was established on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies, as a unit in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies. Its establishment was made possible through the cooperation of the United States Government – USAID, the AFL-CIO, the Government of Jamaica, the University of the West Indies and the TUEI’s founding unions, the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, the National Workers’ Union and the Trades Union Congress of Jamaica.
FES, headquartered in Berlin, was founded in 1925 and is named after Friedrich Ebert, Germany’s first democratically elected president.
By BALFORD HENRY, JIS Reporter & Editor