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BIGWU: Joe Young – an outstanding Labour leader

posted 3 Oct 2012, 12:47 by Gerry Kangalee


Joe Young – an outstanding Labour leader:


The following statement was published on the FaceBook page of the Banking Insurance and General Workers Union:
“A tireless fighter for the working class …an expert at arguing technical aspects of industrial relations matters…a foremost practitioner at the Industrial Court where he finally served as a Judge…” This is how BIGWU’s President, Comrade Vincent Cabrera remembers this legendary trade union leader who passed away on Tuesday 2nd October 2012 at the age of 80.

Comrade Cabrera also pointed out that Joe “defended the interest of workers employed by the Neal & Massy conglomerate and was able to establish decent standards of work there and elsewhere.” Joe impressed him as “a militant, no-nonsense leader who was beyond reproach when it came to defending the interest of workers.”

Founder of the Transport and Industrial Workers Union in 1961, Joe led the bus workers to successfully battle for the nationalization of the bus system which has since been called the PTSC. Joe was well known for the salutary resistance he led against the Industrial Stabilisation Act which was passed in 1965 to muzzle trade unions. Indeed, it was the famous but bitter BUS STRIKE OF 1969 that he led which ushered in the 1970 revolution in which he also played a key role…

Comrade Joe Young was a founding member of the United Labour Front, a member of its Central Executive and served as one of its senators in the Senate in 1976. In his later years, he worked with our union in an advisory capacity.

He was also an IR Advisor to the University and Allied Workers Union and when those UWI workers joined the OWTU, he was made an Advisor to the OWTU. He also worked as the Manager of the office of the National Trade Union Centre for a short while and finally served as a Judge of the Industrial Court.

Comrade Mario Als, Deputy President of BIGWU recalls Joe as a Labour Leader who “ represented a beacon of light to young trade unionists like myself… we could turn to him for advice on any on Industrial Relations matter, the history of the Trade Union Movement or the IRA… you were certain to get positive and revolutionary direction from him… a lot of which is still relevant today.”

Joe will also be remembered and respected for his refusal to be honoured with the Trinity Cross when he said:” If I am to be honoured, it must be by the workers for whom I have fought and not by the Government against whom I have fought”