The IUF Communication Program: Internet and Trade Union Solidarity successfully started on Monday 5 Feb. at the GAWU headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.
In the opening session, Komal Chand, GAWU president, and Kenneth Joseph, secretary general of NAACIE, welcomed the participants to Guyana. Both remarked the long working relationship that the IUF maintains with sugar workers unions in the Caribbean, and particularly in Guyana. Jorge Chullén, IUF global sugar coordinator, outlined the activity and remarked that it is integral part of the Caribbean sugar work, and opens the possibility of reproducing it in other regions as well. He also thanked GAWU for the work in preparation for the activity, the support from other IUF regions and affiliated unions, and the financial support from the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).
Sue Longley, coordinator of the Agricultural Workers Trade Group (AWTG) joined the meeting via Skype from Geneva, underlining the significance of capacity development by agricultural workers unions, which would support their efforts to improve working conditions, and international campaigns, such as the need to get countries to ratify the ILO Convention 184 on Safety in Agriculture. Sue also mentioned the collective efforts from IUF affiliated unions and staff in supporting this Caribbean activity.
For many of the ten representatives from the five sugar producing and exporting countries in the English-speaking Caribbean, this is the first time they are exposed to training in electronic communication. But all of them, as well, were eager to start the course. In fact, the evening before, while at the hotel, they were helping one another to get the wireless connection to the Internet working, and surfing the net for information on their countries.
The first session, conducted by Jasper Goss (IUF Asia/Pacific), was an introduction to the basics of electronic communication, electronic mail, contacts lists, and voice communication over the Internet, using the Internet wireless connection available at GAWU office.
Jesper Nielsen introduced the field work, which consisted in visiting the La Bonne Intention (LBI) sugar factory in the afternoon. The participants were reminded of relevant aspects in workplace visit, and were advised to observe in some detail the work being done and take photos of situations they considered important. The representatives would use their observations in the second day of the training.
The participants to the training are:
BWU – Barbados: Gillian Alleyne
BWU – Belize: Eloida Faber
GAWU – Guyana: Narda Mohamed
GAWU – Guyana: Rooplall Persaud
NAACIE – Guyana: Pauline Collins
NAACIE – Guyana: Paula Dhaniram
BITU – Jamaica: Harold Brown
UAWU – Jamaica: Clifton Grant
UAWU – Jamaica: Humphrey Boreland
ATSGWTU – Trinidad: Nigel Paul
Also, Jasper Goss, IUF Asia/Pacific; Jesper Nielsen, 3F-Denmark; Aslim Singh, GAWU-Guyana, and Jorge Chullén, IUF Global Sugar.
Visitors to the first day of the training were Sue Longley, via Skype from Geneva; Leroy Trotman, general secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU); Seepaul Narine, GAWU secretary general; Verita Smith from the Guyanese union CCW, also a member of the IUF Caribbean regional committee; and Jairam Petaim, director of human resources of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).