Fifteen women delegates attending an IUF sugar/bananas program in the English-speaking Caribbean called the Dominica government to ratify Convention 184, Safety and Health in Agriculture of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The delegates met from 5-7 March, in a Women’s Program with the theme “The role of women in promoting & sustaining the agricultural sector,” organised in coordination with the Waterfront and Allied Worker’s Union (WAWU), an IUF affiliate.
Last September, the IUF English-speaking Caribbean regional conference passed a resolution calling the sugar and bananas program to campaign for the ratification of ILO C-184, and, mainly to use the campaign and the convention to educate workers and unions, employers and government agencies on the importance of Occupational Safety and Health issues. Similar requests have been made by the IUF affiliated unions in Guyana and Jamaica.
Below is the letter sent to the Minister of Labour of Dominica.
7 March 2007
Senator Charles Savarin
Minister of Trade, Labour, Foreign Affairs & Public Services
The signatories, participants in the Women’s Program with the theme: The role of women in promoting & sustaining the Agricultural sector, held 5-7 March 2007 in Roseau, organized by the International Union of Food Workers (IUF) and the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU) learned with interest that our government is promoting the development of the agricultural sector to provide the necessary food security for our island, and also to support production for exports, which would provide much needed foreign exchange.
We also learned that the banana sector, even when it has suffered a dramatic fall in production and export earnings in recent years, continues being an important contributor to the national economy, and that a diversified banana sector can provide further jobs and income to the rural population.
It is quite relevant for us, participants in this seminar focusing on the role of women in agriculture, that about 26 percent of the 690 active banana farmers (to date) and over 60 percent of the estimated 3,000 workers labouring in the sector are women.
We are therefore concerned that proper safe and healthy conditions of work also become part of the government’s plans to promote the agricultural sector and a feature that make any development program really sustainable in the long term. We therefore urge our government to ratify Convention 184 on Safety and Health in Agriculture of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and integrate it, as well as the accompanying Recommendation 192, in Dominica’s labour legislation.
The IUF and affiliated unions, including WAWU, played a major role in the drafting and passing of Convention 184 at the ILO conference of 2001. This was an historical moment because for the first time, the estimated 450 million agricultural waged workers around world – whether permanent, temporary or seasonal – are guaranteed in international law the same rights and levels of protection as other categories of workers.
Trusting that you would consider favourably this request and take the appropriate and prompt actions for the benefit of the working people and the development of sustainable agriculture in our country.
cc. Senator Collin McIntyre, Minister of Agriculture , Fisheries & the Environment
Ms. Rosie Brown, Gender Bureau
Mr. Kertist Augustus, WAWU president
Mr. Jorge Chullén, IUF Sugar & Bananas Coordinator
Dominica: IUF/WAWU Women in Agriculture Meeting Calls for Ratification of ILO C-184
Permanent link to this article: http://www.iuf.org/sugarworkers/dominica-iufwawu-women-in-agriculture-meeting-calls-for-ratification-of-ilo-c-184/