Work towards unified Trades Union Movement – President Jagdeo urges leaders
May 2, 2004
‘I see a deep desire among the workers to be united. They are in a good mood. I am sure they would like to have a unified trade union movement in Guyana. It is up to the leaders of the Movement to ensure this happens.’ - President Bharrat Jagdeo
(GINA) – Workers have a desire to be united and union leaders have a critical role to play in ensuring that there is a unified labour movement in Guyana.
This sentiment was expressed by President Bharrat Jagdeo to the media yesterday following his participation in the May Day observances around the City.
“I see a deep desire among the workers to be united. They are in a good mood. I am sure they would like to have a unified trade union movement in Guyana. It is up to the leaders of the Movement to ensure this happens,” the President said.
The Head of State, in wishing everyone a happy Labour Day pointed out that Guyana needs collaboration at the political, community, industrial and every other level and that has been his administration’s approach. He noted that Government also encourages this at the Government/Trade Union level.
Commenting on the potential for unifying the trade union movement in Guyana, the President said there is some degree of unity, but it needs to be improved. He noted that there are some leaders within the movement who can aid the process, and called on others to do the same.
“I think they (workers) have leaders of foresight who have been working at this, but there are others who have been a detriment and have not been living up to the expectations of workers and this had been affecting trade union unity,” he said.
The Guyanese leader took time off from his busy schedule to join the May Day celebrations with various unions.
First, he attended the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) May Day rally held at the NIS Sports Club ground, Carifesta Avenue. Then he stopped at the Guyana Postal and Telecommunication Workers Union May Day event at East Street, South Cummingsburg. There, he held cordial discussions with workers of that union.
President Jagdeo also dropped in on the event hosted by the Guyana Labour Union on Camp Street where he engaged in light conversation with workers.
The President wrapped up his participation in May Day events at Callinon Hall on Lombard Street.
Housing and job grievances were among the concerns workers at the different venues raised with the President. He has undertaken to address those concerns at a later date.
May Day has its origin in the 19th Century – in 1865 when a group of workers struggled for better conditions of work at a market square in the United States.
In 1890, at the second International in Paris – an international group of workers designated May 1 as Labour Day.
In Guyana, struggling workers first observed this day in 1958. The then Minister of Labour, former President Mrs. Janet Jagan was instrumental in recognising this day and giving support to workers.