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posted 20 Feb 2018, 13:22 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 20 Feb 2018, 13:27 ]
The following statement was released on February 20th 2018.

Image result for bigwu logoThe National Workers Union (NWU), categorically and unreservedly condemns the
Watson Duke
action of the President of the Public Services Association (PSA) and the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC), in dismissing eight workers employed by the PSA for wearing jerseys of the Banking Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU), the union to which they belong.

This dastardly action on the part of the president of the PSA and NATUC is without precedent in the annals of trade unionism in T&T. It is mind boggling that a trade union leader would so wantonly violate the rights of trade union members to peaceful protest and to engage in such blatant victimisation of workers for engaging in traditional trade union activities. This is illegal under the labour laws of T&T.

It is significant to note that among those dismissed are the President, Vice President and Secretary of the BIGWU branch of the PSA staff and two of the workers who were engaged in compiling a new PSA voters’ list as ordered by the High Court.

The employers must be rubbing their hands in glee and raising their glasses in a toast to what can only be considered their fifth columnist in the trade union movement. The irony is that employers have accepted over the years that union members are within their right to wear their union jerseys on the workplace, but here we have a trade union leader dismissing workers for engaging in a practice which has been engaged in by the very members of the PSA from time to time.

Watson Duke’s horrifying action, while disgusting in the extreme, should come as no surprise, since this is not the first time he has dismissed PSA staff members. At least nine such dismissals have been deemed by the court to be unlawful.

The National Workers Union urges the leadership of the PSA to immediately re-instate the dismissed workers.

The National Workers Union calls upon members of the PSA to make it crystal clear that they stand for justice and the right to union representation by calling upon Watson Duke to resign immediately as President of their long-standing organisation.

The National Workers Union calls upon all trade union leaders to condemn strongly this attack on the heart of trade unionism inflicted by one of their own and to make it clear that such a person has no place in the business of defending, protecting and advancing the interests of workers which is the raison d’être of the trade union movement.

The National Workers Union calls upon the National Trade Union Centre to condemn this gross violation of trade union principle and to call for the immediate re-instatement of the dismissed workers and move quickly to initiate proceedings for the removal of Watson Duke from his position as president of NATUC.

The National Workers Union calls upon the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM), of which BIGWU is a member, to stand in solidarity with the dismissed workers and their union and to render whatever assistance they may deem fit to the workers.

The National Workers Union stands in solidarity with the dismissed workers and with the Banking Insurance and General Workers Union as they seek to ensure that this gross perversion of justice is rectified.


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