Keeping Workers’ Rights in Focus
Editor:I was heartened to hear veteran trade unionist Bro. Noel Jackson, speaking out on workers’ rights in his address on the occasion of May Day. Bro. Jackson is one of a rare breed of trade union leaders in SVG who, year after year, fights hard to keep the memory of International Workers’ Day and workers’ solidarity alive.
In that context, his analysis of this year’s global context of May Day, especially given the effects of COVID-19, was very refreshing for it is clear that the working class, rural poor and the oppressed who are suffering most. It is a lesson that workers must grasp readily and try to understand that the solution lies in unity and workers solidarity.
I was also pleased that he took the opportunity to praise the workers on the “frontline” in the fight against COVID, the Chief Medical Officer and her team, the police and security officers and all those who put their lives on the line to make our country safe. We must give praise where it is due and not just be on the sidelines picking holes in everything.
This year’s May Day activities were set aside because of the COVID threat, though it is true to say that in recent years workers have been losing the significance of May Day. It so reminded me of the 1979 May Day, after the volcanic eruption that I searched in my archives and found this paragraph from the FREEDOM newspaper:
“May Day was hot, humid and hazy as the Soufriere volcano carried on its steaming. Unlike previous years, there were no marches or rallies customarily held by trade unions. This was because of the situation concerning the eruption. A joint workers march scheduled by four of the island’s leading unions…had to be cancelled” (FREEDOM, May 4, 1979).