Belinda sets her stall to be congress president

By Leandra Rolle

SEVERAL leading trade unionists yesterday announced their candidacy for the upcoming National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas election.

Those unionists include Bahamas Union Teachers (BUT) president Belinda Wilson; Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) president Dino Rolle; Airline and Allied Workers Union (AAAW) general secretary Susan Palmer; Bahamas Financial Services Union (BFSU) president Theresa Mortimer and Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) general secretary Sheila Burrows.

During a press conference held at the Hilton hotel yesterday, Mrs Wilson, who is running to become NCTUB president, highlighted the many initiatives the umbrella union will be undertaking if the hopefuls are elected.

“We would like to definitely to improve the visibility of the National Congress of Trade Unions. We want to be able to support our affiliates whenever they have challenges especially on the industrial relations front,” she said.

“We look at a membership drive because there are about 100,000 workers that are not unionised so we intend to aggressively go after the non-unionised workers in the Bahamas and see how best we could get them to organise.”

To date, there are 21 affiliates of the National Congress of Trade Unions.

If elected, the BUT president said she and her team will ensure that each union will be properly represented and supported by NCTUB.

Other initiatives, as noted by Wilson, will include obtaining investments for NCTUB and re-establishing a labour college.

“We know that there are a lot young novice trade unionists who are now coming on the scene, so training and professional development is very important so they will know the different acts, the laws and the Industrial Relations Act,” she added.

“And, we want to make sure that those of us who are on the scene now, when we move on there’s succession planning but not only succession planning, but we would have knowledgeable and young trade unionist that would take over from us.”

The election is expected to be held on December 4.