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NWU: STAND UP AND FIGHT OR CONTINUE TO LIE DOWN AND TAKE!

posted 18 Jun 2019, 20:40 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 18 Jun 2019, 20:45 ]

STAND UP AND FIGHT OR CONTINUE TO LIE DOWN AND TAKE!

Either we stand up and fight or we lie down and take! This was made by the late Comrade Thelma Williams whenever she addressed workers. The situation in which working people find themselves today demonstrates the correctness of the call made by Comrade Williams. 


We are in the midst of the greatest crisis faced by working people since the nineteen thirties. Not only has our plantation economy crashed, but the colonial social and political institutions imposed upon us are falling apart.

Parliament, the police, the judiciary, the church, the banks and conglomerates, the education system, the trade unions no longer command respect and are widely considered to be corrupt to the core.

Our country has become a killing field, where crime has become the leading industry involving international cartels run by Chinese Tongs, Mexican and other drug cartels, politicians, immigration and custom officials, parasitic lawyers, one percent importers and distributors, police and defence force officials and street level gundoleros.

We have become notorious as a country where human labour and sex trafficking has become widespread; where slaves are imported and young Latina women forced into the sex trade. Parasitic lawyers and security firms are making a killing and have a vested interest in the crime situation not being reined in.

The hustlers and confidence tricksters who call themselves politicians are only concerned with looting public funds, regardless of the damage they are doing to the quality of life of working people and the poor. We all know the precarious situation in which working people find themselves. The one percent who control the politicians have rammed the shaft straight up the backsides of working people and the poor.

Not only are they not satisfied with maximising their profits during this economic crisis by minimising their labour costs through retrenchment, wage suppression and the cutting back of hard won benefits; they are jumping up and wining now that they can deepen the exploitation of our Spanish speaking neighbours who have been denied the protection, as minimal as it is, of our labour laws.

Thousands of workers have been retrenched since Labour Day 2018 and continue to be retrenched. Workers at Petrotrin, TSTT, Trinidad Cement, RBC, Berger Paints and so many other firms have had their jobs stolen from them. The standard of living of tens of thousands, particularly in the Southland has been devastated. The gains made by working people through their intervention in the 1930s and 1970 are being reversed.

In the past when workers were subjected to the kind of attacks we are being subjected to now, we used to turn to our trade union
Thousands of workers have been retrenched since Labour Day 2018 and continue to be retrenched. Workers at Petrotrin, TSTT, Trinidad Cement, RBC, Berger Paints and so many other firms have had their jobs stolen from them. The standard of living of tens of thousands, particularly in the Southland has been devastated. The gains made by working people through their intervention in the 1930s and 1970 are being reversed. 
leaders for direction and support. Trade unions were built by workers as a defence mechanism to beat off the excesses that the capitalist system generates and to adjust the balance of power between those who produce and those who huff the fruits of production; between employer and worker; between the oppressor and the oppressed.

Today, our ability to use the trade union to defend our quality of life is quickly being reduced to next to nothing. To put it bluntly – trade union leaders are playing the ass!

In the midst of this game-changing crisis many labour leaders are indistinguishable from the employers. The employers are on the warpath in their mission to destroy the trade union movement and trade union leaders seem hell bent on assisting them.

Trade union leaders have no respect for their members; member participation in the affairs of the unions is at an all time low. The institutions of the unions are not functioning in the way they should, leaving union executives to do whatever they want. Union branches and sections, which are the foundation of the unions, have all but disappeared.

Trade union leaders seem more interested in sucking up to the very political parties that represent the interests of the employers and that take the lead in exploiting and retrenching workers and destroying our quality of life.

Trade union leaders seem more interested in attacking one another than in defending the interests of the working class. They see the employers as partners and fellow trade unionists as competitors.

One trade union leader recently collaborated with a company to deny workers severance pay and instead to pay them an ex gratia payment, which of course is subject to tax. The union agreed that it would “refrain from commencing any legal claims or demands against the company relating directly or indirectly to the cessation of the company’s operations and to release and discharge the company from any liability in relation to any such (actual or potential) legal claims or demands.”

Many masquerade as trade union leaders when, in fact, they are businessmen who utilise union resources to build up personal fortunes through engaging in supplying labour and even try to defend exploitative practices when their employees file grievances against them.

Image result for ANIMAL FARMMany trade union leaders have no interest in organising the unorganised workers of this country who make up the vast majority of the working class. Even though the law makes provision for it, many have stopped even offering representation to workers who are not part of a recognised majority union bargaining unit. If the trade unions will not speak for these workers who will?

There are many issues that workers need to grapple with through their unions, but it makes no sense calling on union leaderships to tackle issues like Retrenchment, growing incidence of contract labour, the flouting of minimum wage laws, the discrimination against domestic workers, the struggle for an expeditious recognition process, negotiations two and three rounds behind etc., etc. They are just not capable.

The present leadership are more concerned with who going Geneva and how they could play the political game for self advancement.

As the austerity programme bites deeper and deeper the trade unions will have to rise to the occasion or be made redundant. Under the present leadership it will be made redundant. Mass participation in the unions’ business is the way to go. The union’s business is not the business of the President or the executive or the people at headquarters. The union’s business is the members’ business!

For the trade unions to carry out their mission of protecting, defending and advancing the interests of the working class, the perspectives, policies and practices of the unions must be transformed. The present leaderships are not capable of leading that transformation...A word to the wise.

STAND UP AND FIGHT!


2019/06/19

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