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 Roget ‘Thanks, but no thanks’

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Honeylu
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PostSubject: Roget ‘Thanks, but no thanks’   Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:15 pm

‘Thanks, but no thanks’
By RICHARDSON DHALAI Saturday, June 18 2011

OILFIELD Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget yesterday revoked the hand of friendship offered to the labour movement by Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) political leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Addressing PNM supporters at the Victor Chin Kit Park in Point Fortin on Wednesday evening, Rowley said the labour movement was betrayed by the ruling People’s Partnership government as he urged labour to, “hold the fort, for I am coming.” Rowley added, “you have a friend in the People’s National Movement.”

But speaking to Newsday yesterday, Roget said the PNM’s friendship is the furthest thing from the mind of labour. He dismissed Rowley’s statements saying that it was the previous PNM government led by then prime minister Patrick Manning that attempted to inflict “licks” on the labour movement when it tried to decertify two trade unions and also “brutalised workers” during an axe-the-tax march outside the Red House.

“There was never a bigger attack on the labour movement than the attack by the PNM...this same PNM which is now saying it is a friend of labour, which attempted to decertify two trade unions,” Roget said.

In 2009, the then PNM government reportedly attempted to decertify the unions representing workers at state entities Public Transportation Services Corporation (represented by the Transportation and Industrial Workers Union) and Telecommunications Services of TT (TSTT) represented by the Communications Workers Union.

“This is the same PNM that is now saying it is a friend of labour that brutalised our members and arrested the union’s general secretary during an axe the tax march and it was the same PNM that is now saying it is a friend of labour, which attempted to send home over 2,000 Petrotrin workers by trying to merge five state-owned companies into a mega company.

“So this phrase that they are our friend all of a sudden is something that we are very wary of. The PNM does not have a good track record when it comes to dealing with labour,” Roget said.

He reiterated that no politician has been invited to either attend or participate in tomorrow’s Labour Day celebrations at which trade union leaders are expected to also sign a Labour Day Accord and perform an assessment of the first year stewardship of the People’s Partnership administration.

Roget said “precious little” has been gained by the labour movement after the election of the coalition Government. “Labour’s assessment of the Government’s performance is an independent assessment and we will be doing so in the areas of crime, education, health and labour. We’ll look at how they fared in these and other critical areas and why there is nothing to celebrate after one year and one month in government,” Roget said.

He said the Labour Day Accord, similar to that which was signed by the five-member coalition party at Fyzabad prior to the May 24, 2010 General Elections, would detail “certain actions” by the labour movement in its quest for better wages, salaries and working conditions for its members.

“We will stop at absolutely nothing,” Roget said although he declined to give specific details on the action spelled out in tomorrow’s Labour Day Accord. Roget stated that no politician had been invited to attend the Labour Day celebrations or address the rally.

“No politician has been invited because we want to focus on workers’ issues and workers’ rights,” he said. Roget observed that Labour Minister and chairman of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) Errol McLeod is attending an International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference in Geneva. Government Senator David Abdulah is expected to attend tomorrow’s observances in his capacity as OWTU general secretary.

Labour Day celebrations are expected to begin with the annual Butler 20K classic, which is scheduled to start at the OWTU’s Paramount Building, Circular Road in San Fernando at 5 am and ends at Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad.

At 8.30 am, labour leaders and union members are expected to lay a wreath at famed labour leader Tubal Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler's statue and also at his grave site. At 9.30 am, union leaders and members are expected to assemble at Avocat Junction for the traditional Labour Day march to Fyzabad.


http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,142463.html

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