Definition: a trade union is an organisation formed by employees/workers in a particular trade or craft who have come together to to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, achieving higher pay, increasing the number of employees an employer hires, and better working conditions.
· to obtain and maintain just and proper wages and working conditions and generally to do all such things as may be necessary to protect and advance the interests of its members. · to settle disputes between members and employers, between one member and another and or between members and other workers. · some trade unions provide for some members any or all of the following benifits: 1. financial relief in sickness, accident, disablement in the course of employment, distress, unemployment, victimization or trade dispute; 2. death benifits;
3. legal advice and or legal assistance when necessary in connection with employment; 4. housing assistance.
In the 1930s British colonies were spread right across the Caribbean region. In the west, on the Central American mainland, was Belize (then British Honduras). In the centre-north, some 600 miles east of Belize, lay the largest island Jamaica (100 miles south of Cuba), the tiny Cayman Islands (just off Cuba's south coast) and the chain of numerous small Bahama and Turks & Caicos Islands (off the northern coasts of Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Some 1000 miles to the east, forming the boundary of the Caribbean Sea, lay an arc of small islands stretching southwards from the British Virgin Islands for over 400 miles. These were, from north to south (separated mid-way by two French islands) St Kitts, Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada. About 100 miles to the east of this chain lay Barbados. 100 miles to the south (just off the northern coast of South America) lay the larger island of Trinidad and its associated small island Tobago. 150 miles to the south-east of Trinidad and just outside of the Caribbean Sea lay Guyana (then British Guiana), on the South American mainland.
Except in the two mainland territories, most of the numerous aboriginal inhabitants had perished within a relatively short time after they had discovered Columbus. Although they were not exterminated in the mainland colonies. in the islands only a few hundred descendants of the Amerindians have survived in Dominica and Trinidad. The overwhelming majority of the present day populations are descended, or partly descended, from the millions brought from West Africa to the region as slaves or the hundreds of thousands imported from India as indentured (contract) labourers after the abolition of slavery. Populations and Class Structure
In 1936 the populations of these colonies, as recorded by the Colonial Office were: Jamaica - 1,138,558; Trinidad & Tobago - 412,783; Guyana - 332,898; Barbados - 188,294; the Windward Islands of Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent (combined) - 209,846; the Leeward Islands (Antigua, St Kitts, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands) together with Dominica (later transferred to the Windward Islands colony) -139,759.1 The population of Belize, 98,453 in 1962,2 was probably less than 80,000 in 1936. Although the mainland colonies were much larger than the islands, they were, except in their coastal areas, sparsely populated.
In Jamaica in the week ending 12 December 1942, 505,092 persons were classified as gainfully occupied. Of these 283,439 were wage earners of whom 88,981 were classified as unemployed. This did not include 50,528 between ages 15 and 24 who had never had a job. Classified as working on their own account were 153,274 persons. Included in this number were individual peasants or small farmers,3 but, because of the high level of unemployment, this category was abnormally large. This was because it included many enterprising persons seeking work but unable to get a job who had resorted to self-employment as a means of survival....
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