MSJ May Day message: Workers need to break free of allegiances to two old political parties

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MSJ May Day message: Workers need to break free of allegiances to two old political parties

Head of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah, says the ruling PNM government does not care about the well-being of workers.

In his message for May Day today, Abdulah said: “Many workers are losing their jobs. In the last year there have been retrenchments at companies big – TSTT, Unilever.

He added that most workers have had no wage increase in ten years, and food prices are up by 25 per cent from January 2021 to January 2023 and transport costs up 18 per cent.

“Even the newly opened ice skating firm has furloughed workers who just got hired.”

Abdulah said young people are fed up and frustrated and many are choosing to leave TT.

He accused the Government of a systematic attack on labour, referring to closures at Tidco and Petrotrin, plus downsizing at TSTT.

“Their agenda is to have very weak or no trade unions at all, all the better for the economic elites to increase their wealth and income.

“The PNM Government in almost eight years in office has not reformed a single piece of labour legislation.”

“They do not care about the well-being of workers whether this is health and safety at the workplace or protecting workers’ severance pay and other benefits when companies close down.”

Abdulah added: “the Industrial Relations Act was anti-worker, quoting an unnamed legal notable saying, “TT has the most oppressive labour law framework in the Caribbean”.

“In the UK, in France, in Germany, in the US workers have been taking disciplined mass action to defend their rights and protect their quality of life.

“There have been massive general strikes and huge street protests in France. Teachers, university lecturers, railway and transport workers, nurses and doctors have taken strike action in the UK.

“Transport and airport workers and others have taken strike action in Germany, and teachers and railway among others have gone on strike in the US.”

“Disciplined mass action by workers in defence of their interests is still the most important tool available to workers to protect themselves, their standard of living and quality of life of their families.

“In this regard, the MSJ congratulates the Yara workers and their trade union, the OWTU, for their recent very successful strike action.”

On May Day 2023, he said the MSJ stood in solidarity with workers and labour, the MSJ’s track record unmatched by any other political party.

“Workers need to break free of their allegiance to the two old, bankrupt parliamentary parties since both those parties have maintained the status quo of anti-worker and backward labour laws, and an economic system that benefits the few elites while pauperising the working class and poor.”

He said the labour movement must continue the struggle to defend workers’ lives and livelihoods by disciplined mass actions, demonstrations and other actions.

Abdulah said until labour holds the reins of power there would be no serious, progressive reforms of labour laws to protect workers

He promised a campaign of worker empowerment and consciousness raising, starting with education plus information material for unorganised workers.