THE EDITOR: The TT trade union movement is sitting on the cusp of reinvention. This is the year, this is the moment when trade unionism must change the modus operandi for the long term betterment for the poor in general. Not the poor Africans or the poor Indians, just the poor. You cannot redo what Butler, Cola Rienzi and Cipriani did. The scenarios are totally different. People can vote. People can labour, but they now tend to labour only if they want. Many unionists have jobs but do not give of their full potential. Some accumulate wealth on the backs of others, leaving the discerning to see them as the new colonial masters. Trade unionism was never about naked ambition for self. The ambition was to improve the lives of all workers, bar none.
The shoe is now on the other foot. Trade unionism in TT is now all about being its own “big business”. While true big business can still offer jobs, there are unionists who can allegedly be viewed as lining their own pockets. One now sees people, banded together, who can bring misery to others by just not turning up for work and withholding essential services. It is all about seeking profit that does not allow for the state of collapse of local or foreign financial markets.
You can reinvent the trade union wheel by giving it some new tyres. The new trade union movement must ensure the poor does not get run over by social ignorance. I always maintain that indeed, image is everything, and especially so in TT.
The trade union movement in TT has too many well educated unionists to be seen as just another bandit. When Malcolm Jones died his contribution to the image of the Afro Trinbagonian male within the TT community far outweighed any alleged mistakes made. He had the best of funerals and we in TT all love a good funeral that shows respect. Malcolm earned it.
Realistically there is nothing wrong with the Petrotrin board other than that there should always be an extra seat for the trade union movement. We are all of us imperfect and we have to agree to disagree.
I maintain my view that until the TT unionists embrace the realisation that retrenchment is as inevitable as death, they will be marching to Charlie King Junction in circles with dwindling numbers of supporters.
One cannot control what happens by remaining on the outside of what is fiscal reality. Pouting is for two-year-old children.
True respect from the public calls for attitudinal change. Both Eric Williams and Comrade Butler must be turning in their graves.