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posted 18 Nov 2019, 04:21 by Gerry Kangalee
Image result for yara trinidadThe workers at YARA are the latest victims of the epidemic of retrenchment. It is an economic malaise that has spread across our nation over the past three (3) years.

The YARA workers join Arcelor Mittal, RBC, Scotiabank, TCL, TSTT and Petrotrin workers as the most notable to hit the breadline en masse. Massy cashiers are prophesied to suffer the same fate, if they are not absorbed into the structure of the company with their proposed self-service cashing. The workers at TTPost and Unilever are also being readied for the chopping block.

The government's inability (or ineptitude) in expanding our revenue stream away from the energy sector, provides little in the way of opportunity for the newly unemployed able-bodied citizen, whose qualifications and certifications seem to be a waste of time and energy. A cruel realization that you can "ketch real hell" even if you "go to school and learn well" making the Mighty Sparrow a liar (although capitalism has gone mad).

In this disparaging gloom, workers who have not been affected by the scourge of losing their jobs often speak as if they are waiting for the other shoe to drop. What an existence and a thought process to face every day. Tiring as it is we plod on.

What are workers to do? Usually I would say get behind your Unions and push. But, our Unions seem to be individual entities rather than a "Movement". All those companies aforesaid, the only real push made by the "Movement" of Trade Unions, was when the closure of Petrotrin was announced.

Even then, workers were too scared to take part in that action because of a perceived backlash. Some were too busy putting our heads down, believing that working feverishly doing nothing will stave off the economic Grim Reaper. Some of us were just victims of a cynicism that could easily be disguised as being realistic.

All in all, we need our Trade Unions to move away from rhetoric and become influential once more in economic development. There must not be two and three labour bodies. There must be an amalgam of Trade Unions not simply to fight an ad hoc battle, but to move this society forward economically and politically.

We, as the members of Unions, seem to have as much power over our leaders as citizens have over the government. We feel helpless to remove hapless and power-hoarding leaders who clearly are out of their depth to remove us from the depths of an economic ocean that threatens to drown us.

I will continue to call for the membership of various Trade Unions to find progressive leadership. The current leaders have proved themselves inept and bereft of ethics.

Unless we as a people respond forcefully, we will be victims to the deadly virus called retrenchment.

I wish I could have ended on a more positive note but I cannot.