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SELL OUT AT THE HYATT by Rae Samuel

posted 31 Aug 2015, 19:54 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 31 Aug 2015, 19:58 ]
Reading of something or seeing a photograph can provide effective communication. Actually seeing it happen adds another dimension. If the activity defies common sense, logic and self interest those of us present who are conscious enough, (who wish to scream what the hell going on here but cannot), leave with a sense of bewilderment at best

To say that the JTUM surrendered is to be generous. Surrender suggests a form of struggle/effort to affect an outcome. Capitulation may be a better word. Or as Amilcar Cabral suggested in his eulogy "The Cancer of Betrayal'' at Kwame Nkrumah's funeral the workers of Trinidad and Tobago ''are being scoffed at in their most legitimate aspirations''.

The meeting was portrayed as unity against a common enemy; of old friends who saw the
need to pull Trinidad and Tobago from the brink. They all seemed to forget that PNM hands are anything but clean.

So the CWU was absent, as was TIWU, PSA, Postal Workers. Several joints of the trade union movement were missing. Non aligned TTUTA has suddenly moved to the front line. Some units sent one delegate. One sent as much as four and of the four none were front line leaders.

Of course the document is a joke. The JTUM was a forum conceived and developed to deal with the People's Partnership wage offer/cap of 5% in 2010/2011. It served to bridge the gap between the two federations NATUC and FITUN none of which were functioning in the interests of workers. It allowed for democratic participation without any of the leaders of the federations having to surrender their hubris and talk to each other and it worked. The 5% became 9% with benefits that actually raised earnings to around 14%.

The MOU carries one signature from the trade union movement. Previous positions were endorsed by all representatives signing or all going to visit the Prime Minister. But the CWU’s subsequent press release showed how disjointed the JTUM really ended up and how few signatories were available.

The JTUM forum became the home of one particular political organisation to whose politics all units should subscribe. The forum suddenly found itself with a President and a General Secretary/Education Officer. To this day no one can show when this duly constituted body was formed and authorised to sell out workers at the Hyatt Accord. It was left to a reporter from the Express to ask how this situation would differ from 2010's Workers Agenda and what if the PNM did not win. This left the room silent because this was not supposed to be asked obviously.

So the new Castara Kid mealy mouthed about “principles which would guide any administration''. Once again here was law without any means of law enforcement. How is/was labour going to hold the new administration to any promises then or now?

No joy cometh in the morning for the working class on September 8th. One cancerous political growth may well be replaced by a malignancy. The task of the workers remains to reclaim their unions by re-building from below regardless of what accords are signed in the Hyatt or in Fyzabad by clueless leaders who spin their personal ambitions as being synonymous with the interests of the working class
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Gerry Kangalee,
31 Aug 2015, 19:55
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