TRADE Union Congress president Obie Ferguson.
By PAVEL BAILEY
OBIE Ferguson, Trade Union Congress president, announced yesterday his organisation's intention to resume their annual Labour Day parade after the previous two attempts were cancelled due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
“This Labour Day is a different day,” Mr Ferguson said. “This is a different Labour Day; we will be on that march and we are inviting all Bahamians, no matter what labour you have. We want you to be on East Street by Super Value. I’m inviting all Bahamians to come out and let’s celebrate our history, because you know if you don’t know your history you tend to repeat your past.”
In addition to announcing that this year’s parade is slated for June 2nd at 8am, starting from Windsor Park, Mr Ferguson said the Davis administration is truly willing to work with the unions to see their goals accomplished.
The theme this year is “Forward, Upward, Onward, Together with Labour”.
He then highlighted the accomplishment of the long-sought union goal of the separation of labour director from registrar and congratulated Van Delaney’s appointment to the post of Registrar of Trade Unions in the Bahamas.
It was due to the increased collaboration between the unions and the government that Mr Ferguson extended a formal invitation for Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis to attend this year’s parade. This parade will also include a family fun day at Arawak Cay, concluding a week of celebrations for Labour Day.
During questions from the press Mr Ferguson discussed how the trade union is working with the government in planning a proposed nationwide wage increase. He said both trade unions, employers and the government will be part of the drafting process of the Living Wage.
“So, the living wage right is something new, the government has bought in on that. All we have to do is work out the details. The employers will be a part of that, the government will be a part of that, and the trade unions will be a part of it. So, we are coming up with the living wage, not the minimum wage, that was the 60s.”
Arlington Bethel, Chairman of the Labour Day Committee, responding to safety concerns regarding next week’s parade said that strict policies are in place and health protocols will be followed to ensure public safety. Additionally, in view of the recent rise in COVID cases Mr Bethel said that if safety restrictions change by June 2 there is a contingency plan in place.
“The TUC will be managing the parade different(ly) from the past. We have implemented some new policies that will bring safety awareness by ensuring the following: There will be no alcohol consumption tolerated by anyone driving vehicles in the parade. There will be Marshalls designated by all affiliates to ensure that the parade progresses safely. We will not tolerate any littering on the parade ground. All health protocols will be strictly enforced.” Mr Bethel said.
“It is a march, however if the protocols happen to change before that we will transition to a motorcade.”