GAWU, NAACIE welcome DePeana's mend initiative

Stabroek News, 16 June 2002

The two unions that broke away from the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) will meet next week to finalise the list of issues they want addressed at the conciliatory caucus next month.

Both the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) welcomed the initiative by General Secretary of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, George De Peana, to offer conflict resolution aid in an effort to end the impasse with the GTUC.

De Peana wrote to the unions and GTUC offering his services to resolve the differences and a meeting with the parties is scheduled for July 4.

If the GTUC's executive council is also committed to reconciliation with the two unions then I think we can overcome the differences, president of GAWU, Komal Chand, said on Friday when contacted by Stabroek News.

Chand said De Peana asked that the parties identify the issues they would like to be discussed.

He stated that one of the concerns was about unions in the GTUC, which did not actually have membership but were part of the executive council. Chand described them as paper unions and said they gave support to other unions within the GTUC on issues that made it seem as though the numbers suggested a majority position. They are paper unions and should be excluded from the GTUC, he said.

Chand is also advocating that the number of delegates at conferences should be proportionate to the numerical strength of a union.

Another issue of contention is the accountability of the finances of the GTUC.

Chand pointed out, too, that there were unions with varying backgrounds, work place environment, composition, and political outlook, therefore the GTUC must be mindful of all its affiliates and desist from making statements which would suit only some of its members.

General Secretary of NAACIE, Kaisree Takechandra, said the move by De Peana was a welcome development since it was important that the impasse with the GTUC be broken.

He said his union was disposed to meeting De Peana to try to find solutions. Takechandra noted that it has been over a year that the issues of variance with the GTUC were submitted to the trades union umbrella body but nothing had happened.

GTUC is drawing up its list of points to be considered at the meeting with De Peana and it will be examined by its executive council on Wednesday for a final draft to be decided upon.

GAWU and NAACIE broke away from the GTUC almost two years ago over a range of grievances with the organisation.