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posted 22 Jun 2015, 21:35 by Gerry Kangalee



The foolishness that took place at Charlie King Junction on Labour Day confirms the position of the National Workers Union as published in a statement distributed in Fyzabad on June 19th before the agents of destruction took centre stage.

In that statement we said: “many trade union leaders have abandoned the first principles of trade unionism:  class solidarity, mass organisation, collective action, organizational democracy and political education. Instead they have taken the road of collaboration with the employers, the capitalists and the “eat a food, skin up to the highest bidder” politicians in suppressing the aspirations and the interests of their members.

Many trade union leaders have abandoned the route of self reliance and independent organisation and have attached themselves to the gangs of confidence tricksters and political hustlers masquerading as political parties in order to advance their personal interests.”


What was the jhanjat at Fyzabad about? Was it about differences in strategy to defeat the growing curse of contract labour that is destroying the prospects of workers in the public service, the state enterprise sector, the statutory authorities sector, the health sector and increasingly in the private sector and which is being used to emasculate unions, particularly the PSA?


Was the conflict on June 19th based on differences over how to tackle the growing privatisation/divestment policy of the government which is putting public funds into private purses and reducing the workforce in the public and state enterprise sectors?


Was it about how to counter the aggression of the employers in their open attack on workers as exemplified in the TCL strike and the mass dismissal of NP workers?


The increasing decibel level in the labour movement has nothing to do with ideology or strategy! It is all about labour leaders currying favour with politicians by using the Unions and workers as collateral for bargaining in pursuit of their personal gain.


The Fyzabad fiasco was about some trade union leaders assisting the employers and the political parties in dividing the working class in exchange for a seat in the House or the Senate and for an opportunity to hobnob with those who oppress their members.


Our partisan political system is based on dividing the masses along ethnic, religious and regional lines and trade union leaders who eagerly embrace this corrupt and rotten system are conscious or unconscious agents of the employers and the government. Take note: Messrs. Lambert, Abdulah, Duke, Anisette, Indarsingh, Roget, Maharaj! Today some cling to the PNM yesterday it was UNC, but say what, yesterday was yesterday and today is today. Some ally themselves with whoever is in government, though they may have been allied with the defeated party before!


While many trade union leaders seek the holy grail of political office, the ability of the unions they lead to perform basic trade union tasks has plummeted disastrously. While they spout divisive and dangerous partisan political rhetoric, they are inefficient, pay no attention to properly training their officers, do no research and are ignorant of industrial relations laws and practices.


They have failed to train Union officers, shop stewards and labour officers to efficiently handle disputes at the various levels, have become an embarrassment, are treated with derision and have become the butt of jokes in industrial relations circles.


They love to talk about issues of which they do not have a clue, make unfulfilled promises and have become TV and radio talk show trade union leaders. They do not interact with their members, do not encourage discussion and debate, fear criticism and refuse to practise self-criticism. They have no confidence in their members, are insecure in their positions, run the unions like their personal estates, never consult the workers and lead the union from the top down. They do not encourage the practice of democracy.


The National Workers Union believes that the very survival of the trade union movement rests in the hands of the younger cohort of shop floor/workplace leaders. These shop stewards and branch officers in the day to day functioning of the unions are the more important than the trade union bureaucrats who sit in their fancy offices, drive their fancy cars and make deals with corrupt politicians and employers in order to advance their personal interests.


The workplace leaders of the unions must ask themselves the question why do we tolerate the nonsense that passes for leadership in our unions? Why do we knowingly allow our leaders to engage in practices that are inimical to workers’ interest and do not put a stop to them? Why are we content to allow leaders to operate, free of the checks and balances that exist in the constitution of most unions?


It is time to wake up. It is time that workplace union leaders assume their responsibility to their members to take charge of their unions and to ensure that they operate as they were meant to operate – as institutions designed to defend, protect and advance the interests of the working class and not as watchmen for the employers and the State