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posted 12 Dec 2011, 12:37 by Gerry Kangalee



The National Workers Union (NWU) congratulates the workers at the port of Port of Spain, members of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) and Trinidad Cement Ltd., members of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), for taking direct action in an effort to beat back the government-inspired wage suppression policy. Given the government’s hard headedness and arrogance in imposing the five percent wage cap on public sector workers and the eagerness of the capitalists to follow suit, it was bound to come to this.

Trade union leaders in an effort to negotiate decent wage increases for their members have held meetings with the government, begged, pleaded, demanded, held public meetings, marched up and down the streets. All they got for their troubles was the imposition of a state of emergency under the smokescreen of fighting crime.

The president of the SWWTU has said that for forty months he has been putting out fires among his membership. The workers rage and frustration can no longer be contained by their leaders and they have intervened decisively in order to protect, defend and advance their interests in a situation of growing antagonism between capital and labour.

What the government and the capitalists seem unable to comprehend is that it is easier to negotiate with a handful of trade unions than with sixty thousand angry and rebellious public sector workers. The more they disrespect the trade union movement the more they fuel the growing class struggle.

The National Workers Union views with scorn and contempt the bleatings of the DOMA President that the actions of the workers are a “hostile” attack on the business community. Was it not a hostile attack on working people when the government and his business comrades gleefully imposed a 5% cap on workers, many of whom have not had a wage increase since 2006 and 2007? When workers interests are adversely affected, they call on us to make sacrifices, but when their interests are affected they scream and cry and threaten the working class. Do so really ent like so.

The National Workers Union is not impressed by Mr. Aboud’s nonsense that workers may find themselves “irrelevant to the equation”. Labour creates value. Capital was created by labour and without labour capital is nothing. Labour will always be relevant to the equation. The rule of capital is slowly coming to an end

As to Mr. Aboud’s threat that shipping lines want to set up privately owned ports, the National Workers Union, in a previous release pointed out that “ ... the Minister of Finance spoke of privatising public utilities, ports, airports, health care provision and, curiously, pensions. The Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation Limited is one of those being offered to big business. According to Dookeran, a further seven enterprises are to be privatised.”

We know that privatisation is government policy as dictated to them by the international lending agencies and the country can be sure that the trade union movement and the working class will fight against that policy, just as we are fighting against the wage cap. Both policies are part and parcel of the assault by international capital against the working class in their futile bid to save their doomed capitalist system.

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


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Gerry Kangalee,
12 Dec 2011, 12:37