Antigua and Barbuda is observing Labour Day Monday with a call for workers to demand an end to “wage slavery” and the Baldwin Spencer government calling for tripartite approach to industrial relations in the country.
President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kim Burdon, addressing workers ahead of their traditional May Day street parade said it was important for workers in the country to put an end to the prevalence of wage slavery in Antigua and Barbuda.
“A political, financial and economic system which exists today has eroded or all together taken away that dignity. You have lost a decent standard of living and have reduced many of us around the world back into wage slavery,” he said, noting that “wage slavery is one where a person’s immediate and total needs depend on the wages given.
“How many of us can identify with that even today,” he said, adding that from a “national perspective, first of all as citizens we must stand united and united in purpose and united in resolve. “We must be resolved to be good, descent and productive citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, to expect and demand excellence in all areas of our individual lives and to expect excellence from each other, from our leaders and from our government”.
He said workers must also demand integrity from their leaders, adding “we citizens must develop an express our faith in God and demonstrate that faith in the way we treat each other”. Burdon said that contrary to public statements by government regarding a turnaround in the local economy “I can’t say I have seen anything yet, I am sure it will be slow in coming because the recovery of jobs seems always to lag behind the economic recovery”.
In an address to the TUC rally, Labour Minister Dr. Errol Cort urged support the social partnership that would allow for amicable relations between government, workers and employers.