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posted 21 Feb 2013, 06:33 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 21 Feb 2013, 06:43 ]



The National Workers Union (NWU) congratulates and commends the Joint Trade Union Movement for organising an all-union Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) to deal with the government’s stated policy of privatisation. The COSSABO is to convene on Saturday 2nd March at 1:30 pm at the CLR James Auditorium of the Cipriani Labour College in Valsayn. It is open to all trade union shop stewards, branch officers and activists. 
The NWU is of the strong conviction that just as the challenge facing the labour movement over the last two years has been that of breaking the government-imposed wage cap, the challenge facing the labour movement now is that of beating back and stopping in its tracks the government’s stated policy position of divestment/privatisation. 

The NWU is heartened that the labour movement understands the enormity of the challenge and has summoned the COSSABO to develop a strategy to defeat this latest attack on the working class and the poor. 
The government has stated that it intends to divest First Citizens Bank; TTMF/HMB, PLIPDECO. Government has floated the idea of divesting MTS and outsourcing the sanitation functions of the municipal authorities. The exploration and land production sector of the hydrocarbon industry is at great risk of being parcelled out among the friends of the ruling party and the members of the energy chamber, while the government is keen to bring a “strategic partner” into Petrotrin and to get rid of Trinmar. 
The North Central Regional Health Authority even published notices (since withdrawn) inviting “expressions of interest” from “interested parties” to enter into public private partnership “to operate and manage” twenty four services provided by the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC). If privatisation takes place the entire health care system of this country will be operated not on the basis of access to all but on the basis of profit maximisation. The PP friends and financiers are waiting impatiently to suck dry yet another juicy fruit at the expense of working people. 
The NWU as long ago as November 2011 alerted the public to the PP government’s intention. In a statement dated November 11 2012 the NWU pointed out that in his speech on Public Private Partnership at the Hyatt on Tuesday November 1st, 2011 Winston Dookeran, then Minister of Finance, spoke of privatising public utilities, ports, airports and health care provision. 
At the time the NWU said: “Privatisation is a policy directive hatched in the Article IV consultations with the IMF and guided by the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. It is part and parcel of the neo-liberal policy designed to weaken the power of the working class in favour of strengthening the capitalists.” 
The NWU has also pointed out that WASA is going to be used as a guinea pig in the privatising of public utilities. 

Privatisation places the provision of public goods into private hands; increases the gap in income between capitalists and workers; uses public funds to subsidise the wealthy and increases foreign domination of the economy. It leads to widespread retrenchment; increases in the costs of services; the entrenching of obscene working conditions; the weakening of the bargaining power of organised workers and the wholesale transfer of income from the pockets of working people to the purses of the capitalists. 
The NWU calls upon all shop stewards, branch officers and activists to attend this historic COSSABO and to participate in developing tactics to derail this obscene policy. 
The NWU, further, calls upon all working people to be alert to the danger that privatisation poses to their standard of living and quality of life and to support and participate in the campaign to beat back this latest assault on working people and the poor. 
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Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637)

Gerry Kangalee,
21 Feb 2013, 06:43