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posted 25 Mar 2013, 18:54 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 25 Mar 2013, 20:40 by Dave Smith ]
Union representatives from across the trade union movement gathered at the Communication Workers Union (CWU) Hall on Henry Street in Port of Spain on Saturday March 23rd 2013 to develop an action plan to beat back and derail the government’s privatisation policy.

This was the second Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) organised by the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) dealing with the question of Privatisation

The first COSSABO was held at the Cipriani Labour College on Saturday March 2nd. It dealt with an exposition of the privatisation policy and a full discussion on what are the implications for the trade union movement, the working class and the country.

The COSSABO of the 23rd March dealt specifically with the development of strategies and tactics to educate and mobilise trade union members, workers and citizens to say no to privatisation and to pressurise the government to abandon this policy designed to eliminate jobs, drive down the living standards of workers, weaken the trade union movement and suck the country deeper in the vortex of an international capitalist system in mortal crisis.

The COSSABO broke up into workshops, the members of which strategised and reported back to the plenary
session their recommendations as to how the problem should be tackled. The COSSABO closed with the unanimous adoption of the following resolution:

WHEREAS the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) hosted a national COSSABO on privatization on 2 March at CLR James Auditorium, Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies, Valsayn attended by various Shop Stewards, Branch Officers and Activists from the various Trade Union (1st COSSABO).

AND WHEREAS the 1st COSSABO recognised the danger and negative implications of the process of privatization regardless of its various forms e.g. divestment, leasing out and farming out, joint ventures, and the new term Public Private Partnership. The 1st COSSABO also recognised that privatization in its various forms ultimately result in the transfer of public shares, interest and ownership to private ownership.

AND WHEREAS the COSSABO recognised that privatization will inevitably lead to:-

·reduction of the workforce through massive retrenchment

·reduction of workers’ wages and benefit

·significantly weakening of the trade union movement

AND WHEREAS the 1st COSSABO condemned privatization in all of its forms.

AND WHEREAS the 1st COSSABO on privatization held on the 2nd March was reconvened on the 23 March to develop strategies at both workplace and national levels to mount a national campaign against privatization to protect our national patrimony.

BE IT RESOLVED that at this 2nd COSSABO on privatization on 23 March the following strategies were developed and agreed upon:-

1.Build support and solidarity amongst workers directly affected by the immediate threat of privatization (TSTT, FCB, TTMF, Petrotrin, MTS, City Corporations etc) through a series of workplace meetings

2.Develop a Public Relations campaign using traditional and non-traditional mass media e.g. social media, publications, purchase of media time, flyers, poster campaign etc.

3.Embark on a series of community meetings and protest demonstrations similar to the campaign against the 5% wage cap.

4.Conduct a series of in-house workshops, seminars, panel discussions and debates with various stakeholders on the issue of privatization.

5.Establish an anti-privatization committee

AND BE IT RESOLVED that 1 May, MAY DAY 2013, be the launch of the national campaign against privatization.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the JTUM be responsible for the launch of the Campaign and its execution.