Over 50 trade-unionists from across the Caribbean are participating in the largest gathering of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) in the region.
"IUF Caribbean Defending Workers Rights in a Post Pandemic World" is the theme for the 6th
Caribbean Regional Conference, being held in Antigua on Thursday and Friday at the Antigua &
Barbuda Workers’ Union headquarters.
Former Prime Minister and veteran trade-unionist, Dr. Baldwin Spencer, was the featured speaker
during Thursday's opening session. Spencer said the gathering was taking place “at a very critical
juncture in the life and times of the Trade Union Movement, not only in the Caribbean but
worldwide.” He noted that now more than ever, the rights of workers and the obligations of their
representative bodies needed to be at the forefront of Union activities.
The former Prime Minister applauded the Antigua & Barbuda Workers’ Union and the Antigua
Trades and Labour Union for cooperating with each other in facilitating such an important event.
“It is therefore a move in the right direction to have the involvement and cooperation of the two
local IUF affiliated Unions – the ABWU and the AT&LU – collaborating to ensure a successful
outcome of this two-day Caribbean conference. I would hope and want to believe that this two-
day Caribbean conference should lay a solid foundation for future collaboration and unity of
purpose in defense of the working class people, not only in Antigua & Barbuda but regionally,”
IUF General Secretary, Sue Longley, described the Conference as a “historic” occasion as it would
confirm the newly formulated Young Workers and Women’s Committees. “This will bring the
Caribbean in full parity to a number of our other regions,” Longley explained. The IUF General
Secretary also called on the region to position itself on the forefront of efforts to achieve a “just
transition” in the food industry that will put “people and planet before profits.”
ABWU President, Kem Riley, pledged the full support of the Union to the IUF’s activities. He
said that solidarity was the key to harnessing the global strength of the IUF.
The Conference will hear reports from the various committees as well as review several proposals,
plans and recommendations to strengthen trade unions in the region. The 6th IUF Caribbean
Regional Conference will conclude on Friday with the election of a new Regional Committee,
President and Secretary.