Caribbean educators develop their skills on trade union organisation and gender issues

published 14 September 2023 updated 22 March 2024

Twenty-seven education unionists participated in the Trade Union and Gender Education workshop hosted by the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT). The event’s main goal was to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to become effective leaders of teacher trade unions.

In his opening address, CUT President Dr. Garth Anderson stated that the regional workshop aimed at building the trade union capacity of CUT affiliates and enable them to strategically defend teachers, promote human rights and advocate for the implementation of policies and principles that will enhance quality public education.

The Minister of Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour and Gender Affairs of St. Lucia, past CUT Vice-President and former EI Regional Coordinator for North America/Caribbean, Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, reminded attendees that “one of the CUT founding principles was the advocacy for the recognition of human and trade union rights of all workers” and she encouraged them to “become active participants in defense of this principle”. She expressed her satisfaction concerning the continued excellent relationship between CUT and EI, as well as their cooperation partner CTF.

The workshop, sponsored by Education International with financial contribution from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario through the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), was held from March 20-23, 2023, in Castries, St. Lucia.

Over the course of the four days, sessions were held on the following topics:

  • The objectives, function and structure of trade unions.
  • The history of the Caribbean trade union movement.
  • Achieving the SDGs – The role of the trade union movement.
  • Current issues facing the trade union movement.
  • Trade union recruitment and mobilisation.
  • Climate change – Implications for the future of work and the trade union movement.
  • The trade union work in education - The national, regional, and international perspective.
  • Gender equality: Sustainable Development Goal 5.
  • Gender equality: The Caribbean context.
  • The issues of gender and leadership in the workplace.
  • Confronting mental health: the gender dimension.
  • The role of gender in team development and performance.
  • Developing a work plan.

At the end of the workshop, participants were presented with certificates.

For CUT Programme Officer and workshop moderator, Julian Monrose, “the general feedback of participants about the workshop was very positive. They indicated that the training and its content were very helpful. The general feedback of participants about the presenters and their knowledge level was also very positive.”

Adding that the topics covered during the workshop were well-received by the participants, he underlined that they “were very excited about returning to their unions to share gained knowledge”.

He went on to note that among key topics/ideas for future workshops provided by participants were leadership, project proposal writing and collective bargaining.

Participants were representatives of education unions members of the CUT, i.e. the Anguilla Teachers' Union, the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, the British Virgin Islands Teachers' Union, the Dominica Association of Teachers, the Grenada Union of Teachers, the Montserrat Union of Teachers, the Nevis Teachers' Union, the St. Kitts Teachers' Union, the St. Lucia Teachers' Union (SLTU), the Windward Islands Teachers Union (St. Maarten) and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers' Union.