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posted 11 May 2015, 14:20 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 11 May 2015, 14:35 ]
The National Workers Union (NWU) shares the concern of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) about the manner in which the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill is being introduced in parliament and about the all out assault on the very existence of the trade union movement if this bill becomes law.

It is cause for great suspicion that five weeks before parliament is to be dissolved, this bill has come up for debate. For more than thirty years the trade union movement has been submitting its views on the amendment and or/repeal of the Industrial Relations Act, which we have always viewed as being an anti-worker act designed to serve the interest of employers and to keep the working class “in its place.”

It is worthy of note that the first piece of anti-labour legislation, the Industrial Stabilisation Act of 1965, was rushed through all its stages in one day in Parliament by the Eric Williams administration. This Act prohibited strikes and was designed to serve the interests of foreign capital which was being sought through the industrialisation by invitation initiative.

In 1972, the Industrial Relations Act replaced the Industrial Stabilisation Act. It was enacted during a state of emergency by the Eric Williams administration and placed severe restrictions on workers ability to join a trade union of their choice and was designed to stifle the revolutionary mood of the masses which had erupted in 1970.

Today we have yet another attempt by the gatekeepers of the employers to attack the rights of workers and trade unions by including in the Bill a clause which enables a worker who may not even be a member of a union to trigger a process which can lead to the decertification of that union if the union does not effectively represent that worker who pays no dues to the union.

This surely is an attempt to undermine the financial base of unions and make us impotent in our task to defend, advance and protect the interests of the working class. This must be resisted with all the might of the trade union movement. While the Minister of Labour, a renegade trade unionist, babbles about having consulted with the trade union movement, the first time we saw the draft bill was when it was laid in the House on May 1st.

The National Workers Union is in the process of analysing the Bill and will soon publish an in-depth statement. In the meantime we have seen enough to recognise that this Bill if it becomes law will constitute the most serious assault on the labour movement since the 1970’s.

What is striking about these three attempts to repress the trade union movement through legislation is that sell-out trade union leaders have joined with the government to attack the very interests they purport to represent. In 1965, these sell-out artists were led by Carl Tull; in 1972, by Clive Spencer and the leaders of the Labour Congress; today, by Errol McLeod and Rudranath Indarsingh.

The National Workers Union calls upon Senator James Lambert, leader of the
National Union of Government and Federated Workers, the largest union in the country and the President of the N
ational Trade Union Centre (NATUC), to publicly

disavow this Bill or join the ranks, along with his fellow government colleagues, Errol McLeod and Rudranath Indarsingh, of the most notorious traitors to the working class since the formation of the trade union movement in the nineteen thirties.

 The National Workers Union calls upon the Labour Movement to convene a Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch officers (COSSABO) as soon as possible, to not only discuss the Bill, but to devise  a strategy to defeat this Bill and force the government to withdraw it.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer.  Cell: 785-7637)