Thursday, March 4, 2010

Labour betrayed by an 'Independent Judas'

As someone who is keenly interested in the labour movement, for the life of me I cannot understand how a man like Michael Annisette could be President of NATUC. Ever his appointment as an ‘Independent Senator’ Mr. Annisette’s credibility has been persistently questioned by various parties as he performs his duties in this country’s senate not as an Independent senator but as a perceived PNM Senator! As someone who is supposed to be the ‘voice of labour’ in the senate Mr. Annisette has done nothing to suggest that he is a representative of the working class, on the contrary he has been pro-government 99% of his sitting time.

How can the President of NATUC openly criticise a member union for legitimately defending the rights of workers? Mr. Annisette was quoted in the Daily Express as saying “nobody can be against the upgrading of a state institution. We need to modernise the system if we are to attain first world status”. Well I’ll be damned if Michael’s words weren’t pulled in verbatim from the PNM’s manifesto of ‘Vision 2020’! Funny how Mr. Annisette didn’t give any evidence of knowing what was wrong with the system to begin with, but I will give him a hint. The problem started and stems from the inefficient, mediocre corrupt managers of the system, i.e. the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Therefore Mr. Annisette seems to not know what he speaks of because if an organisation is corrupt and inefficient and a management team presides over such organisation for decades then simply changing the workforce is not going to help because you will also need to revamp, modernise and purge the managers of the corrupt system which Mr. Anisette claims needs modernising. And to demonstrate how much I agree with him I suggest we begin revamping this management team by first having President George Maxwell Richards revoke the appointment of Independent ‘PNM’ Senator Mr. Michael Annissette!

If Mr. Annisette is so concerned about the manner in which the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is going about in treating the public servants of this country why doesn’t he as an Independent Senator and Labour Representative go into the Senate and demand that this anti-worker PNM government treat with workers in this country with dignity just as how it is done in the countries with ‘first world status’ such as Canada? When the Canadian government undertook a similar project with its tax bodies not only did it rehire the staff, staff were given a two year employment guarantee, their union was granted automatic successor ship and only two officials of the new body are appointed by the government. The other members are appointed by independent bodies and by independent bodies I mean “independent,” not independent where the Prime Minister has a veto over who is appointed!

Mr. Annisette’s talk about ‘first world status’ and the need for a ‘roundtable approach’ is nothing but hogwash when one compares it to the archaic, dogmatic manner in which this PNM government is treating with the employees of Customs and BIR. Retrenching workers (now euphemistically referred to as VSEP), attempting to derail the PSA by not granting it successor ship and creating a tax collecting special purpose company controlled by the ruling party outside the oversight of Parliament is not ‘first world status’! That is taking us back to the Stone Age! Just look at what is happening with special purpose companies like UDECOTT using state funds to sabotage a Commission of Enquiry and big honchos in UDECOTT awarding contracts to their families in Malaysia. Not surprisingly this same ‘Independent PNM Senator’ is also a director of UDECOTT. Well as the saying goes if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then guess what, it’s a duck! At least this sort of financial espionage and nepotism was contained to a much greater extent under the watchful eyes of the now maligned service commissions!

It is no wonder then why the labour movement in this country is not only perceived as weak, politically tainted and manipulated by politics when you have the President of the National Trade Union Centre treating lightly with a politically violent and blatant attack on workers’ rights and in the same vein heaping scorn upon the leader of the PSA who is going all out to preserve the dignity of his union’s members. If the labour movement in this country does not soon wake up and remove forthwith the obvious Judas who is also working part time as the anti-Christ in our senate and strip him from the Presidency of NATUC, an organisation whose interests he clearly isn’t serving then there is no point saying we have a labour movement in this country. Labour in Trinidad and Tobago is dead! ©

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