One of its key recommendations was that trade unions needed to be developed in the British West Indies to provide workers with legitimate avenues to voice their grievances over wages and working conditions.
St. Lucian, Charles Augustin, an ambitious agricultural worker picked up the ball and ran with it, raising awareness and enthusiasm for unionization among several influential members of the island. These members included R.G.H. Clarke – a pharmacist and proprietor, George Copper – manager of T.R. Evans & Company, John Pilgrim – Editor of the Crusader, Job James – a waterfront worker, Randolph Roberts – clerk/treasurer of several friendly societies, Henry Pollard – active in several Friendly societies, J.B.D. Osbourne – a banker and ex-treasurer in government service, Lewis Clarke – a clerk with Peter & Company. R.L. Scott – secretary of several friendly societies and Henry Belizaire – an ex-school master.
On March 09, 1939, these illustrious men launched the St. Lucia Workers Co-operative Society. Trade union legislation was introduced around the same time and in 1940 the St. Lucia Workers Co-operative Union was formally recognized. They were able to commence the monumental task of enlisting members, educating workers and becoming the collective bargaining representative for employers.
Trade unionist had plenty of new ground to cover in the early years, they relied heavily on the British trade union movement, which supported its smaller St. Lucian bothers with funding, publications and invitations to conferences.
Did you know that the St. Lucia Civil Service Association was registered in May 1951?
Source: A History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux – 2012