The Trinidad Guardian / Crime and unemployment are among the issues the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (Fitun) will highlight today during Labour Day celebrations in Fyzabad.

“People are suffering because of the crime and the bad economy. Job losses are affecting the ordinary people. We are looking for an analysis of the economy from the Government and where the country is heading,” said Fitun president Joseph Remy.

He said organisation is faithful to the tenets and ideals of the labour movement and will be in Fyzabad today. He does not understand why the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) is holding its celebrations in Tobago.

“Fyzabad is the birthplace of the struggle and the trade union movement,” Remy said.

He also called on workers to concentrate on building the labour movement and to beware of false promises from political parties.

The Fitun leader admitted that trade unions have a lot of work to do to educate their members about the benefits of the movement.

Michael Annisette, Secretary General, NATUC, who described reports of a new split in the labour movement as “bacchanal and speculation”said celebrations are being held in Tobago this year simply a tribute to the workers on the island who have fought for justice and better working conditions.

“Our going to Tobago has nothing to do with disunity. It is a recognition of Tobago’s struggle. Do you know that there was a slave rebellion in Tobago and other prominent persons who fought for workers’ rights?

It has been 142 years of the struggle in Tobago,” he explained..

Annisette listed crime, inability to join a trade union of choice, outsourcing of labour and the bad economy as some of the issues trade unions have to tackle.

“People on the ground are feeling disconnected from the system of governance,” he said.

He believes that the trade union movement will always remain relevant as they have had to evolve over the years.

“The working class now is different from the 1920s and 1930s as many of the manufacturing jobs are gone and automation has taken their place. We in the trade union movement must do what is necessary to remain relevant,” he said.

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