The forum was attended by hundreds of labour representatives from all 34 nations attending the Fifth Summit of the Americas, and took place at the Sport and Physical Education Centre (SPEC), at the University of the West Indies, (UWI).
The forum was broadcasted in both English and Spanish as representatives from throughout the western hemisphere listened intently to addresses delivered by various union leaders.
Among the speakers were Ancel Roget, President General of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU); Linda Chavez Thompson, President of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA); Senator Michael Annisette, President of the National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (NATUC); Sr. Alfonso Qui??nez, Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the Organisation of American States (OAS); Jacqueline Jack, President of Caribbean Congress of Labour; Hilda Solis, United States Secretary of Labour; and Rennie Dumas, Labour Minister for Trinidad and Tobago.
Most speakers touched on similar issues throughout their addresses, however it was unanimously agreed that despite whatever measures needed to combat any global crises, the workforce should not be the ones to suffer.
“The working class must no longer stand by to be used to sold out, in order to overcome this historic crisis the world is now facing. The working class must stand united throughout the Americas, and ensure that proper measures and procedures are used to overcome this crisis without burdening the working force,” Roget said.
Annisette also expressed similar views, adding that the Governments of all nations attending the Fifth Summit of the Americas need to closely consider all the issues raised at the forum, as it may be their last ‘‘golden opportunity’’ to intervene before ‘‘all hell breaks loose’’. Jack suggested that trade unions may have to reexamine the modus operandi, because given the severity of the crisis, business could not be expected to ‘‘continue as usual’’.