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World Day For Safety And Health At Work- 2019

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By: Batumba Tak

General Secretary

The St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union

World Day For Safety And Health At Work- 2019

In the words of an Unknown Author, “You don’t need to know the whole alphabet of safety. The a, b, c of it will save you if you follow it. Always Be Careful.”

Each year on the 28th April, the International Labour Organization (ILO) promotes safe, healthy and decent work. However, the 2019 theme chosen focuses on promoting, “A Safe and Healthy and the Future of Work.”

In addition, it is also inspired by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) Centennial Anniversary which also focuses on “Decent Work and the Future of Work.”

Ever since the emergence of the Labour Movement in the late 1880s/early 1900s one of its main plant was, and still is right up to today, to ensure that the safety and health of all workers in this our very beautiful Federation of Saint Christopher (St. Kitts) are taken care of at their workplace, their homes, their communities, and by extension the entire country.

Even before my involvement in the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union, I could vividly recall all of those stories that was told to me by my grandmother (Virgina “Gina” Pemberton) and many other elderly ladies/gentleman in the Newtown/Corner house community.

Some of those stories remains with me as well as those around of age up to today. For example, those stores were of trigger, lice, bedbug, and many other diseases that used to plague the working class people during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

In fact, I definitely can say without a doubt of contradiction that it was because of the resilience of Cde’s. Sir Joseph N. France, Robert L. Bradshaw, Paul Southwell, Sir Lee L. More, supported by the working class people themselves, their unsafe and unhealthy conditions change for the better. But I am pretty sure that we all will agree that there a lot more to be done.

However, despite the continued criticism from a few misguided individuals about the strength, weakness or the commitment of the leadership of the Union we continue with one of its main plank, which is to continue to raise our collective voices in support of good laws to help safeguard and protect all workers safety and health at their workplaces.

Every year, the International Labour organization (ILO) and the United Nation (UN) continue to actively promote the World Day for Safety and Health at work. Thus, capitalizing on its traditional strengthens of Tripartism and social dialogue.

As the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union observes the sixteenth (16th) year since the first observance of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, we continue to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, boots  social protection and strengthen dialogue with our Tripartite Constituents, especially in work related issues.

Very careful research has clearly shown that long before it was officially acknowledge and recognized, the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union gave its commitment to the working class people to do everything within its power to change the very awful conditions that they work, live and socialize in.

Thus, up to this very day we have kept our commitment to the working class people and generally to all workers in this our very beautiful Federation of Saint Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis.

The leadership of the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union fully believes that the celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a very important integral part of the global strategy of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nation (UN) and their promotion and creation of a Global Preventative Safety and Health Culture involving All Stakeholders.

Over the years, one of our very own was given the opportunity to be train as a Safety and Health Officer by the very best specialize Safety and Health experts in the persons of Cde’s. George DePeana, Sir Leroy Trotman, Kirtist Augustus, and many others, and has since returned and is giving yeoman voluntary service to the Union in order to help educated workers on different aspect of proper Safety and Health at the workplace. In fact, you can catch up on his very interested articles in the pages of the Labour Spokesman the leading and oldest News Paper in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

It is common knowldge that in most countries around the world, trade unions, employers organisations as well as safety and health practioners are very active in organising activities for the celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work (28th April).

Right here at home, the St.Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union gives its unconditional committment in supporting the Ministry of Health and the Department of Labour in their campaign geared towards putting focus on World Day for Safety and Health At Work.

However, please keep in mind that in addition to the World Day of Safety and Health, we must also remember that the 28th April annually  is International Commemoration Day for the dead and injured Workers by honoring the memory of victims of Occupational Accident and diseases  by organizing, mobilizing and campaigning worldwide on this date (28th April, 2019).

Therefore, as we continue to honor the memory of the dead, let us also remember and keep in mind the words of Joe Hill, one of the Labour Movement’s fallen Hero, “Morn for the Dead, but continue to fight for the living.”

The leadership of the St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union fully believes that the goal of Occupational Safety and Health include, to foster a Safe and Healthy work environment.  

In addition, Occupational Safety and Health also protects co-workers, family members, employers, might be affected by the workplace environment.

Today, rights in relation to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) It is also advise that a preventative approach is considered to be the best strategy to eliminate workplace accidents, injuries, and diseases.

It is also a well- known fact that the Caribbean Congress of Labour supports social dialogue as important to regional integration in order that workers’ representatives participate in and influence the decision and policy making processes at the regional level.

As I close today, I wish every worker right here in our very beautiful Federation of Saint Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis and by extension every worker worldwide a safe and healthy day, 2019.

As I end here for today, I leave you with a quote by an Unknown Author, and a song from Negro Spirituals.

“Do not depend on others for safety. Help yourself.”

Our Fights Is Yours

By: Tom Glazer.

If you are a businessman listen to me,

If you don’t make decent pay where will you be,

You’ll be behind the eight ball, no customers,

So back the (I. T. U.) St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union friends, our fight is yours.

Chorus:

Our fight is yours, friends, our fight is yours,

Don’t take that Kearney blarney,

Don’t take that Kearney blarney,

Our fight is yours, friends, our fight is yours,

We’re on strike for what is right,

And our fight is yours.

If you’re a workin’ man listen to me,

The Kerney’s run a rat shop, means as can be,

They don’t play decent, they don’t play fair,

So back the (I. T. U.) St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union, friends, our fight is yours.

Chorus:

If you’re a housewife listen to me,

We’re fightin’ for a happy life for our family,

When we ask for a better break The Kerney’s slam the doors,

So back the (I. T. U.) St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union, friends, Our fight is yours.

Chorus:

Businessman and workin’ men/women, house wife  and all our fight is yours as well.

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