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posted 2 Oct 2011, 17:52 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 6 Oct 2011, 07:59 ]
The National Workers’ Union (NWU) congratulates the All Union Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) held on Saturday October 1st at OWTU headquarters, San Fernando for calling upon the government to put an immediate end to the state of emergency. 

More than six hundred workplace leaders of the joint trade union movement deliberated over the way forward for the struggle against the wage suppression policy of the government. The COSSABO re-affirmed that the Labour Day Accord must be consistently implemented and restated its solidarity with the struggle of small farmers. 

There was much discussion over the relationship between the trade union movement and the government. The consensus was that the government was acting against the interests of the working class and had declared war against working people. There were calls for trade unionists to disassociate themselves from the PP government. There were calls for the building of a working class Party and for trade unionists associated with the government to make their position clear. 

The National Workers Union submitted the following proposals for the consideration of the COSSABO: 

That the COSSABO send a clear message to the government that we do not want amendments to the Emergency Regulations or humane conditions in the Santa Rosa Warehouse. We want an end to the SOE. 

That a Secretariat/ War Council be set up by the Joint Trade Union Movement. If we are to carry out the mobilization task effectively organization, co-ordination, communication and the ability to monitor and stay on top of decisions is crucial. A three person committee should be adequate. 

That labour representatives be withdrawn from all government boards and committees, including state enterprise boards. This step would signal to the government that the JTUM is serious about defeating their policy of wage suppression. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. We cannot be gouti and hound dog at the same time. 

We propose that the COSSABO consider recommending to the joint leadership that they take the lead in forming a national front against not only the state of emergency, but to defend and protect the rights and freedoms the masses have gained through much struggle over the years and to fight for the widening and deepening of those freedoms.

The Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) is not a decision making body. That function is carried out by bodies so designated by the constitutions of different unions. It is a clearing house for ideas through debate and discussion. It is an advisory body and can make recommendations. 

Because of its composition, being made up of largely shop floor trade unionists, the COSSABO’s deliberations are enormously influential within the labour movement. 

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

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Gerry Kangalee,
2 Oct 2011, 17:59