Discord in union movement based on political considerations
Stabroek News
May 1, 2004

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FITUG (the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana), noting that this year's May Day celebrations are again clouded by divisions in the trade union movement, says that the discord is based solely on political considerations.

However, interim Chair-man of the body Grantley Culbard said in a Labour Week release, FITUG "sincerely hopes that in the not too distant future we could see a united trade union movement once again."

FITUG remarked on the poor turnout of labour leaders and members at the church service organised to commence Labour Week celebrations on April 25, and at the wreath-laying ceremony in the compound of Public Buildings to pay homage to the founder of the trade union movement in Guyana, the late Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow. Culbard, of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union, questioned whether workers had become disillusioned by the way their leaders have been approaching issues that affect them. In that light, the FITUG said, "the entire trade union movement must take stock of this and do something urgently to try and rekindle the workers' enthusiasm."

It said the rallies that follow today's parade should include resolutions that deal with trade union unity and that after the rallies the leaders of the movement must waste no time in engaging in meaningful dialogue to end the present rift.

FITUG recalled that at the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) rally last year, several resolutions were passed, including one that called for trade union unity. But there were only token attempts to take action on the resolution and unite the movement.

"FITUG therefore now calls on the parties concerned to take action as called for, as it relates to the document of January 2001 being used as a basis for unity talks." According to FITUG, May Day 2004 should not be just another public holiday but should serve as an occasion for all Guyanese, whether political leaders, trade union leaders, or workers, to reflect and give some serious thought on how the country can overcome the challenges ahead.