Your Eyewitness wonders if when the Dodo was becoming extinct it did all sorts of crazy things. No…he doesn’t have too much time on his hands to be wondering idly about things!! The thought came to him at the goings on by the Guyanese Trade Unions on their special day – Labour Day! These guys are gonna be extinct pretty soon if they continue down the crazy road they’re marching in their red shirts. Didn’t the 7000 fired sugar workers send a message to these unions?? They really believe they’ll be getting back their old numbers?
Let’s face it if they won’t. The new economy that’s evolving ain’t gonna be unionized like sugar or bauxite for most of its employees. The infrastructural work in the next decade that’ll burn up billions gushing from oil will use ad hoc work forces!! Even though it may be rational to accept that “there’s strength in numbers”, those workers will reject the regimented approach that came out of the sugar culture. They’re gonna be a new breed of “blue collar” workers – which sugar workers never were in any case. They were the last victims of the mentality that came out of slavery and Indentureship…authoritarian rule by managers and unionists!
But back to the May Day commemorations. It was worse than your Eyewitness had predicted yesterday and it appeared the unions were sending out “Mayday” signals rather than May Day “solidarity forever” bonhomie!! The TUC and FITUG the two “Umbrella” organizations didn’t even bother to show up at the same spot to then march on to separate venues for their speeches. Even that transitory “unity” was trampled as they demonstrated they’d made a conscious effort to show they’re divided by starting out from their different venues by gathering at THE locales this year. Not even a genuflection to Unity!
But that didn’t stop them from continuously bemoaning the “lack of unity”!! From the number of times this phrase was used you’d NEVER think they were talking about themselves!! Did they even make an EFFORT to show unity for one day of the year? Over at Critchlow Labour College the TUC came out to be addressed by the Leader of the PNC/Opposition and other Trade Union leaders, who’ve made it clear they ain’t gonna hiding their political loyalty under no fig leaves! No mo’!
In the meantime, Pres Ali pulled off a stunner when he invited all trade union leaders to break bread on May Day with, he and some Ministers!! At least he was able to bring a modicum of unity when even the GPSU showed up with GAWU, NAACIE, GLU, and CCWU.Maybe he should be Honorary President of all unions?
…rhetoric from PNC unions
For some (good) reasons, FITUG is seen as aligned to the PPP. But this May Day, they flagellated them for not following through on their minimum wage commitment!! Since last year the Ministry of Labour’s National Tripartite Committee (NTC) had agreed to up the minimum wage from the current $44,200 to $60,000. But since then,…. silence!! In the meantime, the cost of living has skyrocketed with the double whammy of COVID 19 and the Ukraine War!! Even the $60,000 wage is now passé.
But over at the TUC gathering at the CLC…it was the same ole, same ole. Screaming at the PPP govt for everything under the sun!! You could be forgiven for thinking you were on the homestretch of a tightly contested political campaign. And it wasn’t only the PNC leader who harangued the gathering but a slew of his (handpicked) team he’s desperately trying to promote.Luckily, the workers who’d marched into the CLC had the good sense to depart once the speechifying began!!
In our mudland, nowadays, there are two constants in the news – road accidents and violence against women. And looks like we just don’t have the will – political and otherwise – to get a grip on the carnage