ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 1, 2020 (CMC) – The Grenada government said, today, it is developing a document, which will provide guidelines for the protection of workers’ safety in the private sector, as part of measures to deal with the impact of COVID-19 – the coronavirus that has affected millions and cause the death of hundreds of thousands, worldwide.
“We are working with them, seeking their input and feedback, on a draft document that outlines reasonable guidelines, expectations and timelines, to protect workers’ safety,” Labour Minister, Peter David, said, in an address, marking May Day.
“The finalised manuals will be circulated to each sector, with the specific health protocols that must be present in the workplace,” he promised, without announcing the timeline for feedback, nor when the policy would go into effect.
David said the Keith Mitchell-led administration will do its part to actively enforce those protocols, as far as is legally and practically possible, and called on leaders in the private sector to seek to safeguard their workers.
David said that all stakeholders will have to make sacrifices, in light of the virus, even as several employers have already terminated workers’ contracts or reduced their salaries.
“While we are cognizant that this is as much an economic crisis as it is a health one, we also know that our first priority must be to save lives.
“This is why, we have already engaged different sectors – including private sector organizations and trade unions – informing them that, going forward, there are certain conditions that must be in place, to protect the health and safety of the worker, and to ultimately, safeguard this nation,” he said.
Traditionally, May Day celebrations, here, take the form of a parade and rally by trade unions, under the banner of the Grenada Trades Union Council GTUC), but because of the social/physical distancing measures currently in place for COVID-19, the movement has resorted to other forms of celebrations.
They have requested members to wear union t-shirts and to listen to the broadcast messages from their union leaders.
David said the current pandemic crisis has resulted in the government announcing a fiscal stimulus package, the core of which is to help protect jobs and to give many sectors of the society an opportunity for survival.
The government announced, on April 30, that more than 700 workers have received payroll support, while others are being processed. More than 1000 applications were received to the special secretariat, set up to assist affected workers, who meet the criteria for support.
“This government is committed to spending millions to make sure that our people are not set back, too far; and that we can hold our community together – determined to rise from this as a more united and stronger people,” David said, adding that the government is committed to ensuring no job is lost in the public sector, and that every payment is met.
“Some recalibrations may be required, to ensure we protect each and every job; and, we are certain that with the cooperation and understanding of all parties, we shall overcome and triumph,” he posited.