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THE DAGGER IS DRAWN; WORKERS UNDER ATTACK By Ken Howell

posted 30 Oct 2018, 09:01 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 30 Oct 2018, 12:41 ]
A hatchet man of the ruling class, for the past two weeks, has been on the attack making all kinds of vacuous statements about trade union rights and false claims suggesting that the trade unions are more favoured under the IRA than employers.

This of course is farthest from the truth. When the Industrial Stabilisation Act became law in 1965 it was because trade unions were regarded as having too much power over the production processes in the country at the time. It succeeded because the movement was divided, because of the opportunistic behaviour of some of the trade union leaders, who went over to the side of the PNM, while the OWTU and TIWU along with some smaller unions opposed the passage of the ISA into law.

Between 1965 and 1972 the anti-worker stance of the government did not change largely because of the division in the trade union movement. This was because of the strong support which the reactionary leaders of the unions gave to the government against the progressive unions.

So when workers in WASA and West Indian Tobacco decided to leave NUGFW and SWWTU the government in support of those anti-worker leaders amended the IRA to disqualify Unions from representing workers in an essential industry if it is already recognised in such an industry. In addition, sympathy strikes were deemed to be illegal. The Recognition, Registration and Certification Board’s procedures and practice notes, are not union friendly.

The fact that trade unions have been able to win cases in the Industrial Court in the recent past is no indication that the Court is favouring the union over employers. What it speaks to is the vicious and arrogant nature of employers who have adopted the attitude that they can fire their employees as and when they choose and for any ridiculous reason, because it is their place and they can do whatever they want.

What is true is that employers often for the above reasons, failed to follow “natural justice” and refused to adopt “good industrial relations practices.” So the view that he /she is peddling that the Court is favouring trade unions is farthest from the truth.

What the author of the article entitled “TIME FOR WORKERS TO BE TREATED AS ADULTS” has done, is to resort to the reactionary
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher
extreme right wing position of the Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher era, when trade unions were deemed to be “opportunistic elements in the labour market” because they want to be able to have the unfettered rights to negotiate individual fixed term contracts with individual workers.

If they are allowed to have their way, they will demand that the government must repeal the Trade Union Act; they will demand that the Maternity Act should also be repealed and so on. And that is because they are certain that their man in government, when they say jump, he will not even ask how high.

The employers are clear in their minds that the quality of the trade union leadership at this time leaves a lot to be desired. And even if we attempt to sweep that under the carpet, it will not change the reality that it is precisely why the henchmen of the one percent are on the attack. If we allow them, they will destroy all the hard work and sacrifices that our forefathers made to form the trade unions in 1937. They will try to undo all the hard work and struggles of the workers who, as far back as the 1600s and 1800s in the vicious anti-worker era of the industrial revolution, had to wage guerrilla war, to win the right to form combinations/trade unions. At a time when anti-combination laws existed on the law books in England.

The author of that article has no regard for the fact that the government is the signatory to a number of Conventions governing labour relations and, as a result, in accordance with international standards had to enact the relevant pieces of legislation to give effect to those relevant Conventions.

Clearly, the author is from the most backward group of employers in the country. Those who believe that the Laws – the few- which guarantee some rights for workers along with the Industrial Court, should be assigned to the waste paper basket. They seem to be obsessed with the OWTU and the CWU because these Unions represent workers in two areas of the economy in which the companies are major revenue earners for the country. And they want to get their hands on the money which once belonged to the citizens.

These people are so brazen in their greed, that they are not afraid to expose their true intention: that they don’t want any laws on the books which restrict their ability to exploit workers with impunity! Therefore, the leaders of the trade unions must recognise the fact that the ruling class ha declared war on the workers of this country and must take a stand.

We must be prepared to meet fire with more fire. If is war they want well is war they must get. The working class must stand united. A blow to one is a blow to all! We must begin to sing the International. Arise ye toilers of the nation condemned to misery and woe. To hell with humbleness and patience, give deadly battle to the foe. Forward ever backward never!
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