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HARRY DOG, HERO OF LEVER STRIKE DIES by Cecil Paul

posted 26 Dec 2011, 18:01 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 29 Dec 2011, 18:03 ]
Ronald 'Harry Dog' Harrilal a veteran of the 1984 OWTU/Lever Brothers strike passed on in his sleep on the night of December 25th 2011.  Ronald 'Harry Dog' was a militant and courageous Union Activist who graduated to become a Branch Officer and a member of the OWTU General Council in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

His signature was his powerful voice and his no nonsense approach in defending workers rights. He played a major role in the Lever Brothers workers strike of 1984. One of the longest Workers Strikes in the history of our country. The strike was called against the 15% Wage Restraint Policy of the Chambers PNM regime. The Government onslaught was led by then Labour Minister Errol Mahabir.

This strike was followed by several strikes at McEnearney, National Brewery, Petrotrin and Dunlop. While those other strikes were sent for arbitration, the Lever Brothers workers took the decision to defeat the Wage Restraint Policy by bringing the Government and Levers Brothers to their knees through the withholding of what is their main power - production and thereby hitting the profits of the ruling class of big business and their political allies.

During the 5 month strike, Harry was in charge of a squadron of militant Comrades with the responsibility to prevent 'Scab Labour' from breaking the Strike. They worked night and day patrolling the perimeters of the Plant to maintain the strength of the Strike against Scab Labour.

Despite many attempts to bring in scabs, arrests and jailing of workers and intimidation of the women workers by the Tactical Squad of the Military Police, the well organized workers eventually won the struggle for all workers against the Wage Restraint policy.

The Government and the Multinational UNILEVER were forced to settle for 24% and a reversal of their policy to cut back and eliminate several hard won benefits.Today these workers are among the highest paid in the country. Ronald Harrilal's funeral service will be held on Thursday 29th December at 3.30 pm at Belgrove's in Tacarigua opposite the Eddie Hart Ground. May this mostly unknown (to the youth workers) Hero of the Working Class, Rest In Peace.
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