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posted 17 May 2015, 14:20 by Gerry Kangalee



Information has come to the National Workers Union (NWU) that the government intends to pass the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill in Parliament on Wednesday May 20th, even in the face of strident protestations from the trade union movement.

The government, it seems, is determined to pass the bill and hustle it into the Senate regardless of the views of those whom the Bill directly affects; even if it means varying the clauses that require a three fourths majority, which it does not have; even if it means steam rolling the deliberate procedures which usually apply when debating and enacting laws.

 The track record of the government, when examined, reveals that they do not care about consulting those whom their policies and programmes directly affect and that they have no compunction about ambushing the population with measures which have never been discussed. One only has to remember the infamous Section 34 and the attempt to sneak into the law the notorious run off proposal which the constitution commission never discussed and which they are coming with again.

The attitude of the politicians in power fits into a tradition of authoritarianism and bullying that has prevailed since independence in the relationship between politicians and the labour movement. In 1965, the then Eric Williams administration declared a state of emergency in County Caroni and on the same day introduced the Industrial Stabilisation Act which went through all its stages in both the House and the Senate in twenty four hours and was proclaimed two days later. The Industrial Stabilisation Act, among other things, outlawed strikes.

In 1972 the Eric Williams administration, enacted the Industrial Relations Act during a state of emergency when some trade union leaders were in detention. This law, among other things, severely restricted workers ability to join a trade union of their choice. Of course consultation was out during a state of emergency.

The government, therefore, is continuing the long-standing tradition of trampling upon the interests of the people and adopting an attitude that the only things that count are those which serve the personal, sectoral and class interests of the politicians and their paymasters and the devil take the hindmost when it comes to the interest of working people.

The National Workers Union calls upon the leadership of the trade union movement to demand that the government cease all efforts to pass this bill so that the leadership of the trade union movement can make a rigorous analysis of the bill and consult with its membership through the Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) scheduled for Monday 25th May.

The National Workers Union urges the leadership of the trade union movement to quickly ramp up its mobilisation efforts to resist the government’s attempt to impose its distorted and perverted agenda on the workers under the guise of dealing with the Workers Agenda, which they ignored for five years. Instead of putting the workers at the centre of development we are being pushed to the sidelines to be further exploited and browbeaten by the employers. We will have no more of it!

One Movement! One Struggle! All unions do battle!


Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer.  Cell: 785-7637)