The Trinidad Guardian / As T&T prepares to celebrates Labour Day tomorrow, political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah has expressed concern that the achievements of the working class following the 1937 revolution are being eroded.
Speaking at a press conference at MSJ’s headquarters in San Fernando yesterday, Abdulah said workers continue to experience exploitation, victimization, discrimination and unjust working conditions.
“Today it is almost as if June 19, 1937, never took place. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs by retrenchment or non-renewal of contracts. Thousands more are threatened with losing their jobs, tens of thousands are unemployed and cannot put bread on the table for their children. Young workers, including thousands of university graduates, cannot find decent jobs, and those that do are on short-term contracts making it impossible for them to plan their future,” he said.
“Some employers are cutting workers’ pay and forcing them to work longer hours without overtime. More than 100,000 workers are working with long expired collective agreements. More and more workers are being hired on short-term contracts making their jobs and lives insecure. Prices are going up every day, making it difficult for families to make ends meet. Additional taxes are being piled on the backs of workers and farmers and our nation’s food producers are fighting every day just to survive.”
Abdulah claimed employers, led by foreign multinationals are “actively engaged in union-busting by preventing workers from joining a trade union of their choice.”
He said even though Labour Day is important to celebrate victories won, T&T must also reflect on lessons learned and prepare for the struggles yet to come.
“It is also a moment to remind ourselves of the agenda of the 1937 Revolution and to identify the business that is unfinished,” he said.
The MSJ leader said politics has stood in the way of fulfillment of the 1937 agenda. Comparing the UNC and PNM to the colonial powers of the past, he said both parties use race to fulfill their agenda amd have failed working people.
“Their track record is clear. The UNC failed to deliver on the promises of the Fyzabad Accord and the manifesto to implement reform of labour laws and to treat workers and unions with respect and fairness. The PNM has violated the MOU. In three years there has been no reform of labour laws, trade unions are not represented on State boards and unions have been excluded from decision making,” he said.