Persad-Bissessar: UNC and unions can work together

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. - Photo by Lincoln Holder
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. - Photo by Lincoln Holder

The UNC was willing to work with anyone, legally, to remove the PNM from Government, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said at a party meeting in Penal on Friday.

Speaking at a rally for the Star Team internal elections campaign at Penal Secondary School, she responded to critics about meeting with the unions earlier that day.

On Friday, the unions gathered in front the Parliament to deliver a workers’ motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister to President, Opposition Leader, Speaker and Senate President.

The motion was handed over to Persad-Bissessar by members of the Joint Trade Union Movement including Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president Ancel Roget and National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) general secretary Michael Annisette.

Persad-Bissessar described the act by the unions as historic and said such a move showed that no one had confidence in the PNM and Dr Keith Rowley.

“Somebody asked what I am meeting these people for. Isn't that the same man (Ancel) Roget....

“My answer is very simple. I will meet and greet with anyone who is legally committed and will act legally to remove the Rowley Government.

“We are bigger than that. We must not be petty because we have to let bygones be bygones because we have bigger battles to fight, she said.

During her term as prime minister of the UNC-led People's Partnership, trade unions protested against her administration over similar wage negotiations and other social and economic issues.

Persad-Bissessar read the contents of the workers’ motion of no confidence which was passed by the working class at the Labour Day rally in Fyzabad.

It outlined the frustrations of the unions and the working class over wage negotiations, social justice and crime, among other ills.

She said, “We stand with these thousands of workers throughout TT. The UNC was born out of the struggles of the labour movement for peace, bread and justice.

“We have always stood with the workers of this country and when we were in Government, we did much for the workers, that is why today they came back to me and us, so we can all work together to rebuild and restore TT.”

Annisette told Newsday Saturday that the trade union movement did not return to Persad-Bissessar or the UNC but rather was also willing to work with anyone with the same agenda.

He said there will always be criticism about the unions and who they aligned themselves with and the motion was delivered to the Opposition Leader, who had a particular role and not the personality.

Annisette said, “There have been several other organisations who have been part of our ongoing struggles from the vaccines to wages to social justice. It is not a marriage of convenience; it would be something where the principles, aims and objectives are realised.

“We are not jumping from one political party to another, we will support anybody who has the interest of the working class. I understand our critics but in order to move forward you need to be mature to transcend petty, foolish politics and put TT first.”

Annisette said the trade union movement has planned to deliver the worker’s no-confidence motion in the PM to the Tobago House of Assembly and the Caricom Heads of Secretariat.


"Persad-Bissessar: UNC and unions can work together"

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