KEEP YOUR GUARD UP

2009-10-02

The National Workers’ Union warns the trade union movement not to lower its guard in the light of the government’s retreat on the move to decertify the Communications Workers Union and the Transport and Industrial Workers’ Union.

The Manning regime was clearly caught off guard at the massive explosion of anger from the organised working class and the determination by the unions not to accept this blatant attempt at emasculating the power of the trade union movement.

The government became concerned that the resistance of the unions would have a destabilising effect on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and opted for discretion instead of confrontation during this period. But their policy has not changed.

They are as determined as ever to curtail the rights, benefits, entitlements and freedoms of working people and their unions as the economic system goes into free fall and the political system loses all credibility among the masses.

The TSTT workers still do not enjoy a collective agreement that covers the existing period and many TSTT workers have been suspended without pay. Thirteen PTSC workers are still dismissed and the problems which led to the unrest at PTSC still exist.
WASA is still a virtual prison house for workers and throughout the Public Service workers' job security is under threat. The situation in the energy sector is fast coming to a head. Hundreds of jobs are under threat at Petrotrin, including at Trinmar, as the consequences of poor management and corruption in the sector come home to roost.
It is clear that government has not shifted from its drive to break the trade union movement and that the unions must not view a temporary reprieve as a significant victory.

The COSSABO should also tackle the broader question of developing a fight back programme to beat off the governmental assault which is already underway and which is going to intensify as the crisis deepens and the government squanders its financial and political capital.

Industrial relations alone is not going to suffice. We are faced with a broad social struggle to defend our jobs and protect the hard-won space that the working class enjoys today. The basis of trade unionism is collective action and solidarity. The trade union movement should not slip back into passivity and fragmentation.

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