A new slate of members to run the affairs of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) for the next two years has been elected and for the first time in its history, there’s what people are calling “gender balance”.
The new Executive Committee comprises nine women and eight men.
“There is a gender balance and we are happy about that. It is probably the first time in our history of having elections. This is very special for us this year,” David Massiah, General Secretary of the ABWU told our newsroom.
He said the role of women has become very pivotal in the labor force, saying that females continue to dominate the workplace.
“We think it is important to have women on our executive in that magnitude to help represent and reflect women workers in our entire society. We are elated to see women coming to the fore in the leadership role in our organization,” Massiah said.
Massiah was re-elected unopposed. So were President of the ABWU Kem Rily and Treasurer Fernando Samuel.
The 1st Vice President is Hazel Luke, 2nd, Vice President Monique James-Roberts and the trustees are Romelia Daniel, Everlie Simon, and Eugene Hurst.
The Executive Committee will serve the Union’s membership for the next two years and will include a floor member from each of the Union’s ten sections: Aviation and Airlines, Administrative and Clerical, Banking and Insurance, Commerce and Retail, Distribution and Manufacturing; Hotels, Restaurants, and Catering; Telecommunications, Transport, Utilities, and General Workers.
The President of the Youth Arm will also sit on the Executive Committee.
Massiah also underscored the significance of the task ahead for the new Executive Committee. He encouraged the section leaders to play a more active role in advancing the cause of workers.
“The charge has been given to you; it is your role to ensure that you represent your colleagues
that are here today and those who are at their workplaces, so that we can continue for another 55 years and, to serve the working class of this country,” Massiah said.
The elections were held following the Union’s 55th Annual Delegates Conference on Sunday, 25, and Monday, 26 September 2022.
“We did have what we considered a successful conference. We used the conference as the springboard for all of the shifts within the labor market that we have seen around us,” Massiah said.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister and veteran trade unionist, Dr. Baldwin Spencer, commended the conference for producing an Executive Committee that is gender balanced.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment, and I want to congratulate each of you for being elected to hold these various positions in the Union,” Spencer said.
The former Prime Minister also urged the Executive Committee to take their responsibilities seriously and to dedicate their time, effort, and expertise to ensure that the mission of the Union is accomplished.
President Kem Riley also expressed his gratitude to the conference for his re-election to lead the organization.
The 55th Annual Delegates Conference was held under the theme: “Uniting Workers with a Renewed Vision”.