Meet the participants in the IUF Communication Training: Internet and Trade Union Solidarity for sugar unions in the English-speaking Caribbean, and what they expect from it. The training will take place from 5-9 February at the GAWU headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.
Gillian Alleyne/Brathwaite is part of the Research Department of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU). She says:”There has been recognition on the part of the BWU, that there is greater need for dialogue with partners in the sugar sector. However, the technology and skills sets required were not all present. I expect that this training will impart the necessary skills to provide for constant and consistent dialogue in a more cost effective and efficient manner.”
Eloida Faber, staff of the Belize Workers’ Union (BWU) in the Orange Walk Town office, said: “I expect to acquire knowledge and experience in dealing with internet (latest technologies) which is limited here in Belize. I expect to learn and share with others on topics of interest that will be discussed.”
The host union, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), has appointed two representatives, Narda Electra Mohammed and Rooplall Persaud. Narda expects that the training would provide her with skills to encourage female trade unionists in participating in the union, and create links among them, and also to encourage the youth to become part of the union, therefore securing the union’s future. Narda is a young woman working with GAWU, the largest agricultural workers union in the English-speaking Caribbean.
Pauline Collins is the representative another sugar union in Guyana, the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial & Industrial Employees (NAACIE). She works in the head office, factory operations of La Bonne Intention. Pauline expects to improve her knowledge of union issues, learn from other countries’ and unions’ experiences in improving the working environment, and be able to access information from the web to support the union’s collective bargaining.
The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) from Jamaica is represented by Harold Brown, an organiser from the St Thomas area, where he also supports banana workers. Harold is new to computers and he expects the training to help him improving his basic skills, develop capacities to keep in touch with the IUF and unions in the Caribbean area, and improve his understanding of the sugar industry globally, as “to be better equipped to deal with challenges faced by the Jamaica Sugar Industry.”
From Jamaica as well, Clifton Grant and Humphrey Boreland represent the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU). Clifton is UAwU’s first vice-president and has collaborated with the IUF Caribbean agricultural regional program for several years. Although in daily contact with the IUF sugar coordinator via Skype, Clifton expects to improve his computer skills to support the UAWU’s agriculture sector work, use the Internet as a research tool, and improve communication with trade unions in the IUF network. Humphrey Boreland, sugar organiser, is old sugar-hand and a new computer user. He expects the training to allow him dealing with communication issues, improve administrative skills, and communication with trade unionists.
Nigel Indar Paul from the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union (ATSGWTU) is part of the staff based at the Rienzi Complex, the heart of the cane belt in the island, which supported an industry facing extremely difficult challenges to survive. Nigel expects, in the context of the dramatic changes happening in sugar, that the training would provide him with a greater understanding of the possibilities of electronic communication, supplement his knowledge of the Internet, and use them in networking, improving information flow and exchange.