Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎


posted 15 Mar 2011, 22:14 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 15 Mar 2011, 22:21 ]


by Rae Samuel

On Friday 11th March, at a NATUC organised meeting all 103 rallied at Woodford Square and after a few speeches, headed for the Prime Minister's residence to conduct the briefest of vigils, possibly all of 50 minutes. A hunger march is scheduled next as workers continue to battle government's intransigence on wages...that virtual wage freeze of 5%.

The issue that must be uppermost in all workers minds is where this three headed leadership of Natuc, FITUN, and non aligned unions plans to go next and how 'vigilancy' has now replaced "militancy'.

Rewind to October last when the P.S.A. led the way with militant action that showed workers knew where their interests lay...and where they did not, the blandishments of the M.S.J notwithstanding. Today it is endless rounds of sectarian leadership meetings which end up in short vigils,white marches and sleep ins outside the Red House.

In any struggle, one does not advance or continually attempt to charge headlong.That, as the students used to say in the '60's is Custeristic. General Custer was the infamous American general who was defeated by the Sioux because he felt they would flee at the sight of his army.

Some kind of review of strategy is necessary if a painful settlement is not to be inflicted on workers. Workers have to move beyond trade union leadership which has become so "board" with their handouts from the State, that the only negotiations they urgently address is their classification on State boards.

Workers now have to own and lead their unions. Workers have to lead their own unions. Far too many leaders are virtual consultants. In private enterprise the advice and counsel of consultants is paid for but their renumeration is not dependent on the outcomes. Can we imagine if some trade union leaders were paid for performance?

The trade union movement led by workers must re-energise itself at the base. We can no longer hump along, as we are now, with dwindling marches, 20 minute vigils, poorly advertised marches and inane arguments about if May Day should be celebrated on a Sunday or Monday, when it is, and always has been on 1st of May.

Even the organised needs better organising now.

Let's be militant not vigilant about that.

Rae Samuel
National Equality Officer
National Workers Union