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PSA to boycott NATUC meeting

By Kim Boodram, Trindidad Express, 23 September 2000

PSA president Jennifer Baptiste broke her silence yesterday to make it clear she will have nothing to do with todays "illegal and immoral" re-convention of the National Trade Union Centre (Natuc).

Four other unions will follow suit and boycott today's proceedings, to be presided over by Robert Giuseppi, whom the estranged unions refuse to recognise as Natuc's president general.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), TTUTA, the Steel Workers Union of Trinidad and Tobago (SWUTT), and OWTU also plan to stay away from the Spektakula Forum today.

There is no question about Baptiste's stance: "The PSA does not recognise Robert Giuseppi as president general of Natuc. Further, we have a mandate from our general council to carry out-we will not take part in the re-convention or participate in any other activities under the executive of Natuc. We consider that executive incomplete."

Baptiste said she has been quiet so far because she did not wish to prejudice any attempts to "put Humpty Dumpty back on the wall."

Today's re-convention was called earlier this week by Natuc secretary general Selwyn John, based on what he said was a majority decision of Natuc units.

John said he was prepared to face litigation from the opposing unions.

The bi-annual convention self-aborted last July when members of the five opposing unions walked out, crying foul on Giuseppi's appointment. They later made claims that the elections were tainted, and Giuseppi's election was invalid.

The CWU stated last week that they would take legal action if the re-convention took place.

John's haste to re-convene, Baptiste said, has led the PSA to believe that certain factions in Natuc "are not familiar with democracy."

The re-convention takes place today at Spektakula Forum on Henry Street, Port of Spain.