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ILO: No!

ILOThe workers’ delegate who the Barbados Government nominated to the recent ILO conference in Geneva was rejected by the world body’s Credentials Committee.

In the Third Report of the Credentials Committee discussed at last month’s 102nd session, the committee, which determines who is represented at the ILO sessions, said it was not convinced that the Barbados Government had nominated the workers’ delegate in agreement with the most representative workers’ organisations.

Tracing the developments leading up to its decision, the committee said it had received an objection presented by the International Trade Union Confederation concerning the nomination of the workers’ delegate of Barbados.

“The ITUC submitted that the nomination was made in breach of article 3 of the ILO Constitution,” said the report.

It recalled that Barbados has a labour force of 144,000, of which 28,000 were in the public service, where potential representation was shared among some 13 unions, including the Barbados Workers union. It contended that the BWU was the only union that potentially spoke for the remaining 116,000 in the workforce.

The report noted that the declared dues paying membership of the BWU was 25,000, which was more than twice the membership of all the other unions put together. The ITUC submitted that according to the Provisional

List of Delegations issued on June 5, 2013, the Government had appointed the workers’ delegate from the ranks of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations, thus disregarding the criteria of representativeness. The ITUC requested the committee to call upon the Government to provide clarification on this matter and to fulfil its constitutional obligations. “In a written communication addressed to the committee at its request, the Government stated that on April 4, 2013, it had agreed that CTUSAB should be invited to nominate the workers’ delegate for the present session of the conference, as had been formally requested by the CTUSAB on the basis that it was the umbrella organisation for trade unions and staff associations, including the BWU,” the report revealed.

The committee recalled that in the absence of an agreement between the organisations on the nomination of the workers’ delegate to the conference, the Government must, pursuant to the terms of article 3, paragraph 5 of the ILO Constitution, aim to effect an agreement among them.

“In examining the credentials, the committee notes that these are dated May 17, 2013. As this is approximately one month following the withdrawal of the BWU from the CTUSAB, the committee considers that the Government could not submit the credentials without examining the possibility that the BWU, as it is among the most representative organisations, if not the most representative, may have withdrawn its agreement with respect to the nomination of the Workers’ delegate,” the document concluded.

“The committee is thus not convinced that the Government has nominated the workers’ delegate in agreement with the most representative workers’ organisations,” insisted the Credentials Committee. (EJ)

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