THE “mother of all marches” will begin on Wednesday at the Pointe-a Pierre roundabout and end on Friday at the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain, followed by a rally.
Head of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) Ancel Roget made the announcement today at a press conference outside the Eric Williams Financial Complex in Port of Spain.
The three-day march, also called "Oil joins with sugar," will see union members overnighting at the Rienzi Complex at Mc Bean, Couva, as well as at the Aranguez Savannah.
The purpose of the “historic” march is to create awareness of several labour issues, particularly the impending closure of Petrotrin’s refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre
Members of the other two trade union federations, the National Trade Union Centre and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Organisations, will also participate.
Roget,who is also the president general of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU), accused the PNM of decimating the sugar industry with the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd, saying it wants to do the same thing to the state-owned Petrotrin.
“They decimated the sugar industry and saw what they did with Caroni. They made a lot of promises to workers. Today those workers are still all over the place and promises are still unfulfilled. They are about to decimate the oil industry,” Roget said.
The march begins from 9 am at the Pointe-a-Pierre roundabout, near the main gates to the refinery. The unions will march throughout the day and make several stops. Roget believes they will reach Rienzi Complex by 4 pm, and on arrival, they will be greeted by members of the All Trinidad General Worker's Trade Union, which is housed there.
“We will overnight at the complex and at 6 am on Thursday we proceed to the Aranguez Savannah. We expect to reach there by 5 pm.
"On Friday we will march from the savannah to the promenade, where we will host a rally.”
The decision to march came after “extensive deliberations” and was not a spur-of-the-moment idea, Roget said. This event, he said, will attract international attention and members of the foreign media will be invited.
He referred to the ruling government as undemocratic saying the Prime Minister “peddles misinformation to the pollution in support of his one-per-cent friends, a small clique of people against the 99 per cent of the population.
“When history records us, it will record us standing up to injustice, standing up to misinformation, standing up to autocratic behaviour and standing up to a prime minister who continues to peddle misinformation to the population which hired him to do a job.”
Also at the media conference were representatives from other unions, including Public Services Association president Watson Duke and head of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union Michael Annisette.