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Two trade unions object to TAWU politicising of industrial disputes

The Grenadian Voice, 2 May 2000

One of Grenada's oldest trade unions has spoken against the appearance of political parties speaking at last week Friday's "red day" rally organised by the Technical and Allied Workers Union.

During the meeting, messages were read from other unions expressing solidarity while leader of the Democratic Labour Party Dr Francis Alexis; Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement's Dr Terrence Marryshow and executive members of the Grenada United Labour Party and National Democratic Congress Mr Ronald Charles and Livingston Nelson respectively spoke.

In their message the political leaders expressed their support for the former workers of the Grenada Broadcasting Network and called on teachers to "hold the fort" as their party is behind them every step of the way.

On Monday the Grenada Manual, Maritime and Intellectual Workers Union issued a statement saying that "whereas our union support (sic) the bread and butter issue of the GBN workers and their union TAWU and have called on management to reinstate the workers and bring a speedy end to the impasse in the interest of good industrial climate in our country. Our union, however, wants to make it categorically clear that we are not part of any political struggle as was demonstrated in a meeting on Friday 12th May by Otway's House."

At a sitting of Senate on Tuesday president general of the TAWU Sen Chester Humphrey, speaking on the adjournment, said that the trade union movement and politics are like "water and ice" and he sees nothing wrong with political parties lending their support ina issue of national importance.

The Seamen & Waterfront Workers Union too was displeased when the political leaders showed up to speak from their balcony. They said they understood the matter to be one of trade union solidarity and not a political issue. They therefore told TAWU to take their equipment and leave their premises. The "platform" was then set up on the roadway in front of the union's premises.