Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Younger cadre needs to lead labour struggle
I was thinking that maybe we should start naming budgets after hurricanes since news of their coming tend to leave us dismayed if not downright frightened. At the end of the day, the financial weathermen/forecasters decide where we workers/pensioners will be hit, how hard and at best, it seems, we just try to ride out the economic storm. Being a class society where power resides with an elite, the impact is less severe for the ruling class. We, the working and retired poor, have to “brakes.” Just look at the kind of profits the local conglomerates declare annually. Now, since workers cannot vote our way out of this mess, the question is: how do we deal with this organised effort to keep most of us working poor? Let us state right away that all the pre/post budget fora, which some trade unions engage in, along with the exploiting associations, represent what some writers call intellectual verbiage.
So for a week before and a week after, the talk shows are more crowded than the Beetham Highway on a Monday morning. And just as threatening are some labour leaders. “Let them move the fuel subsidy nah! You will see.” Comrades, premium unleaded went up in 2012. “If dey privatise, all hell…” FC already under way, TTMF about to go, Plipdeco, NFM, NHS, VMCOTT, NGC, and look at what is happening at the gantries in National Petroleum in Sea Lots. So no amount of breakfast meetings begins to deal with the issue. Our budget debate needs to begin now and clearly it is a question of political change. How do we initiate this change? I am suggesting the labour movement should refocus and develop a meaningful political agenda. This will require a new thrust and a new leadership in the movement. There are Audi/BMW labour leaders in the movement who will argue that they have earned the right to represent their workers like CEOs.
Such captains of labour are not affected by removal of subsidies and will not push for meaningful change. So this suggestion is not for them. It is for the younger cadre to step up and dare to struggle and dare to point the way forward.
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