ELUSIVE LABOUR UNITY
May 2, 2004
AHEAD OF yesterday's observance of May Day, the General Secretary of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU), Grantley Culbard, made an appropriate appeal for the reunification of the country's labour movement.
Culbard was echoing the sentiment of other trade union leaders and unions that have also been urging unity within the ranks of organised labour. Regrettably, those most responsible for the split in the labour movement remain as obstructionists to such a desirable development.
Consequently, following the split among unions of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) this year's May Day was once again observed yesterday as a divided movement for the second time since the formation of the four-union grouping of Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG).
Sadly, therefore, there was a repeat of the spectacle of a much weakened GTUC and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), the country's single largest union, having their own May Day activities.
FITUG, which is comprised of GAWU, CCWU, NACCIE and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union, constitutes at least half of the unionised workers of the entire GTUC membership. Its legitimacy itself warrants serious responses for any move at reunification.
Previous efforts by the General Secretary of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL), George DePeana, himself a former General Secretary of the CCWU, to broker a principled reunification of unions of the labour movement have failed to bear fruit.
Nevertheless, we urge FITUG and what remains as the GTUC to make fresh efforts to heal wounds, resolve differences and seriously pursue all legitimate means, based on established practices, to bring about that elusive reunification in the interest of organised workers and the cooperation and unity Guyana needs for greater social and economic advancement.
As the CCWU's Culbard observed, and reported in our Friday's edition, "a united trade union movement would be fired with a desire to put the workers' and Guyana's above a few selfish interests." He sees the division as being based solely on political considerations, and said he looks forward to reunification in the not-too-distant future.
In sharing such a sentiment, this newspaper takes the opportunity to salute all workers on this May Day weekend.