On 9th December 2011 the National Workers Union distributed the following flyer:
The National Workers Union (NWU) congratulates all those who participated in this demonstration organised by the joint trade union movement on December 9th 2011.
It shows that the state of emergency has not intimidated working people or destroyed the militancy of organised labour as we seek to beat back the attack launched by the government on our standard of living, our job security and our rights and freedoms.
This attack involves suppressing wages, downsizing the public sector, privatising public sector services and attacking hard-won rights and freedoms of working people.
We are going to have to fight hard in the workplace and on the streets to force this capitalist government to remove the wage cap. The policy of suppressing wages is not a stand-alone policy. It is part of a wider attack on the working class so as to force us to pay for the economic crisis that the capitalists created and cannot solve.
Whenever the capitalists screw up the economy because of their greed to maximise their profits and concentrate their capital, they attack working people by seeking to transfer that little portion of the economic pie that we have been able to eke out for ourselves through our unions.
They also attack our job security through the use of the contract system in the public sector and downsize the public sector by retrenching workers like at URP, WASA and the Postal Service.
Privatisation leads to increased foreign control of the economy and results in widespread retrenchment. The PP government is committed to the policy of privatisation of state enterprises. In a speech delivered at the AMCHAM Conference held on Wednesday 10 November 2011 at the Hilton Minister Dookeran said “state enterprises should now be rationalized to allow for equity offerings to the public. That is a policy directive.”
Dookeran has announced government’s intention to privatise TTMF, First Citizens Bank, public utilities, ports, airports, health care provision and, curiously, pensions. PLIPDECO has been named as one for the chopping block and according to Dookeran a further seven enterprises are to be privatised. If we allow the government to get away with this madness thousands of workers will lose their jobs; thousands of families will be pauperised.
The government is following the dictates of the IMF and is actively partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, to organise the privatisation. Many people believe that the government will engage in a fire sale of nationally owned assets as a way to finance the budget deficit
Petrotrin is actively seeking a foreign “partner” and has already done the fore sighting studies which recommend the retrenchment of thousands of oil workers, particularly at the Pointe-A-Pierre refinery. No group of workers is safe, despite the presence of McLeod and Abdulah in the PP government.
When you hear the government talking about a public-private partnership unit in the Ministry of Finance, they are really talking about handing over to capitalist firms the delivery of public goods as is already the case in the health sector where private firms infest the public health system and rake in millions and millions of our dollars, while the public health system continues to go down the drain.
Comrades, it is clear that if we do not stay alert, go on the counter offensive and do all in our power to defend our standard of living and our hard won economic and social benefits, they are going to push us back to the plantation.
The government’s disrespect for working people has been outrageous. We note the minimum wage fiasco, the lack of action on the amendment of labour laws, the wage suppression policy, the privatisation policy and the imposition of the SOE to break the momentum toward the general strike.
The government has shown that it is quite capable of taking away our hard-fought democratic rights and freedoms in its bid to serve its foreign and local capitalist masters. We must do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves. Our greatest strength is in our numbers and our power over production. We must not be afraid to use that power when we have to.
They may control the guns, the courts, the media and the parliament but we control production and the streets. The battle is well and truly joined. Is we time now.