The trade union movement has embarked on a two-day fast to protest sections within the state of emergency proclamation which it believes are being used to curtail the activity of the union. Labour leaders gathered yesterday morning at the Transport and Industrial Workers' Union hall, Eastern Main Road, Laventille, to start their two- day fast. They will be fasting between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.
Addressing the media shortly before starting the fast, Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) president Ancel Roget said the movement was protesting the "wanton abuse of power and authority" and the effects the state of emergency had been having on their campaign against the five per cent wage offer for public sector workers.
Roget said the regulations under the state of emergency had hampered a number of activities the movement had embarked on. He said it is the opinion of the trade union movement that these regulations within the state of emergency proclamation were being used to curtail the labour movement's fight against the five per cent. Sections seven and 13 of the proclamation prohibit any mass public meeting or demonstration during the state of emergency. Section 14 prohibits the dissemination of documents that may lead to the breach of peace or incite violence. Roget said the fast will also highlight their concerns for what they viewed as "an absence of good governance in the country."
He said, however, the movement was "hopefully" the Government achieved their stated objectives in calling the state of emergency in terms of eradicating crime and criminal activity in T&T. Pressed by the media on whether the movement was concerned it would visited by law enforcement officials as all demonstrations were prohibited during the state of emergency, Roget said their actions were peaceful and in no way were they breaking the law. The fast will continue today with 19 trade union leaders.