Power is the capacity of individuals and organizations to realize class interest. As citizens of Trinidad and Tobago we are all members of a particular class. We must however never lose sight of the fact that there is always an antagonism of interest manifesting itself as a class struggle between those who possess but do not produce (Capitalist Class) and those who produce but do not possess (Working Class). As such the Capitalist Class and the Working Class are always engaged in Class Warfare whether we accept it, recognize it, or not.
The interest of these two classes, are irreconcilable as there is a continuous struggle between these classes for economic and political power. The interest of the Capitalist Class is about profits so, they would use every means necessary to minimize labour cost and have an unfettered right to hire and fire without interference and in the process sell their produce or commodity at the highest possible price aimed at maximizing profits.
The Working Class creates all the wealth in a society yet it is the least recognized and appreciated, whereas the Capitalist Class has the most influence because it owns or controls the natural resources required for wealth creation resulting in profits. What an inequitable equation!
Therefore, in order to bring some semblance of social justice and equity, Trade Unions were formed to look after the interest of their members, whilst appreciating and recognising the advantages of working in partnership with the employer.
However, there must be cooperation and transparency by management in measures to promote efficiency and good Industrial Relations Practices, all within the spirit of social justice and equity. The role of the Trade Union Movement is therefore to achieve for the Working Class goals of liberation from exploitation.
As a social partner in the Industrial Relations Climate the Employers’ Consultative Association (ECA) has however drawn the proverbial sword and has shown its true colours as a representative of the Capitalist Class, hell bent on maintaining domination over the Working Class by keeping us in bondage through economic slavery.
This is evident in the recent statements of the ECA as quoted in the Trinidad Guardian dated 27th September 2011, “The unfortunate reality at this time is the misguided Trade Unions that impede the process”. It is rather unfortunate that this statement was made against the background of suggesting, that employers should negotiate directly with workers and ignore the role of Trade Unions. (Quote): “How are we to ensure that the views of the majority of workers, that is, the non unionized workers are heard?”
It is therefore evident that the antagonism, between the Classes still exists and can only be eradicated by the emancipation of the Working Class by creating a society where everyone counts and there is social justice and equity for all. This can only be achieved however when those who labour hold the reins of power.
In the meantime what is the ECA’s position on the culture of greed by members of its Class who enrich themselves at the expense of those who labour and create the profits?
I patiently await a condemnation from the ECA of the apparent blatant display of greed by a member of its Class, as is being vividly exposed in the CLICO/HCU enquiry over the bizarre abuse and plundering of the funds of citizens inclusive of members of the Working Class, who invested monies they toiled and struggle for. As tax payers we are now all being held liable and called upon to address the process of recovery.
So instead of making veiled attacks on the Trade Union Movement the ECA should focus on its role as a Social Partner and commit itself to the building of Meaningful Labour/ Management Relationships as this has a direct impact on Profitability, Productivity, Job Security and improvement in the Quality of Life of Working Class Citizens.
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