Caribbean labour body worried at union division here
Stabroek News
May 14, 2007

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The Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) says it is concerned about the ongoing divisions within trade unions here and recent statements made by one union leader who said the Guyana Trades Union Congress had "outlived its usefulness."

CCL General Secretary George De Peana said the CCL was referring to a comment Guyana Labour Union General Secretary Carvil Duncan made during his address to workers on May Day. Duncan had said that it was time for the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) to take over, at a rally organized by the FITUG.

"It sends a most unfortunate signal to the working class especially to those who are not yet unionized …they will conclude that the trade union movement is divided and will not be able to do anything for them, De Peana said. He also said if the local union movement continued to emphasize the division, the labour movement may be contributing to its weakening and also to a situation in which some of the gains made over the years could dwindle or be lost. The general secretary recommended that the union reunite since it was in the best interest of the workers, "who they say they are serving."

The two union bodies marched together along many city streets in the annual May Day parade but held separate rallies as has become customary. De Peana was one of the persons who met with them earlier this year in yet another attempt to bridge the divisions and examine the issues leading to the split. However, neither he nor the International Labour Organisation official Sir Roy Trotman has submitted a report because of their 'busy schedules' but they have promised to do so in the near future.

De Peana said he was heartened by the recent move by the GTUC and the Guyana Labour Union to meet to sort out their differences and said he is hopeful that this first step bears fruit.