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Goddard: Take EPA negotiations seriously

The Advocate - Barbados


Tue Mar 28 2006

By Janelle Husbands

GENERAL Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Joseph Goddard is calling on the public of Barbados to see the serious nature and the potentially negative impact of the ongoing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations, which will draw to a close today at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Goddard stated, "People in some quarters may think that because it has nothing to do with pay, or pension or grievance that it has nothing to do with the trade union movement.

"A lot of the possible outcomes from these set of negotiations could have a negative impact on the workers of this country and the region and it is the mandate of the NUPW to safeguard the well-being of the workers — so as far as we are concerned this is a trade union activity that is being supported by our colleagues from across the region."

According to the general secretary, workers in Barbados stand to be affected by the negotiations in terms of government procurement, intellectual property rights, agriculture, the provision of decent work, fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, adding that there is the possibility of the agreements compromising the country’s sovereignty.

In light of these concerns, the union official confirmed that the NUPW, in collaboration with the Caribbean Policy Development Centre and other stakeholders, will be taking their concerns to the streets in the form of a rally today. The march begins at the NUPW headquarters at 9 a.m., proceeds along Dalkeith Hill, Upper Bay Street, turns right onto Aquatic Gap to Pebbles Beach car park. It will be followed by a rally to draw attention not only to the economic, social and political issues to result from the EPA negotiations between the European and CARIFORUM countries, but as a mark of protest at the exclusion of trade unions and other non-governmental organisations from the process.

Goddard acknowledged and thanked members of the international community for providing a plethora of information on the issues that are likely to plague the region and constant updates of some of the negotiations being held at the highest levels.

 source: Advocate