By Rae Roberts
Is the former champion of workers issues in the country, Chester Humphrey along with Peter David now accomplices in undermining the workers’ struggle?
I am asking this question in light of the roles now being played by the two revolutionary comrades who often boasted of being part of the most pro-workers government in the history of Grenada – the 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).
Comrade Chess was so committed to the anti-Gairy struggle that we all know what he did in the United States before he was arrested and charged for gun-running and then absconded while on bail.
Comrade Peter was encouraged to leave Grenada and go abroad to study in order to come back home qualified to serve the country once the Revolutionaries overthrew Sir Eric Matthew Gairy from power.
With this background, I now salute the workers of the nation and their respective trade unions with the prayers and the hope that the New Year brings each one all that is wonderful throughout 2018.
Foremost are wishes for health, job satisfaction and the love and goodwill of neighbours and friends.
Regardless to your political affiliation, workers in this election year you ought to make your voices heard and very loud.
The challenges facing today’s workforce require men and women of conscience and commitment to struggle in protecting their collective rights as well as the restoration of public officers’ pension by whichever party forms the next government.
Equally important – workers must demand a dispute resolution clause be passed in Parliament to be included in the Labour Code to ensure that employers are mandated to settle disputes with non-unionised workers.
The most urgent challenge though is the proliferation of contract labour by the NNP Government which is seriously violating much of what is said in the Labour Code.
Some employers are turning permanent jobs into contract labour and outsourcing jobs and the guilty culprit is the government led by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The new workforce of youth is the one most exploited by contract labour and they must recognise the severe consequences as today’s young worker gets older and become parents. Contract labour allows for easy dismissal and little or no benefits under the labour code.
The Public Service – teachers, police, nurses and civil servants – which is the government workforce today records the largest number of contract workers in the history of Grenada. Estimated numbers are 60/70 percent of the public service.
The private sector including the banks have taken their cue from the Mitchell Government and their new employees are generally on short-term contract. Again, young workers are easily sacked and subjected to exploitation!
The leadership now provided by Senator Andre Lewis of the Technical and Allied Workers Union for the long list of NAWASA contract workers ought to be championed relentlessly – each day – each hour – each minute in 2018.
Workers must not compromise on the definition of a permanent job in the Labour Code. Workers ought not to be fooled.
NNP Ministers – Nicholas Steele, Simon Stiell and Tony Boatswain, as well as their Prime Minister, Dr. Mitchell are all seeking the interest of the business community.
They are bent on reducing and eliminating workers benefits in all areas in order to ensure greater dividends for investors.
Workers, remember who pays the piper calls the tune. The millions that the NNP will spend in the campaign is not coming from workers but the big business especially the foreign ones.
The thousands given to NNP by the small local businessmen cannot compare with the millions from the foreign investors and you know who they are.
Undoubtedly the former Prince of the Labour Movement, the current President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey and the man who claims to love poor people Senator Peter David are accomplices in the attack on permanent jobs and workers.
They have remained muted on this most pertinent and fundamental topic. Why? Let them answer for themselves. Are they afraid of their new leader – Comrade Keith Mitchell?
Both Chess and Peter know that 2018 could mark the end of their long political journey if the electorate vote out NNP from office.
The two of them were supposed to help Sister Glynis Roberts build NUF but abandoned her before the Flight could take-off and went into NNP as part of the so-called “Project Grenada” initiative.
The “Project Grenada” men failed in their ambitions to take over the NDC as part of the grab for power.
I can assure them that Dr. Mitchell and many inside the NNP are aware of their machinations for power and will not allow them to pull off a coup similar to what happened to Herbert Blaize in 1989.
Prime Minister Mitchell has also smartly and brilliantly disguised his anti-union agenda. He has given comfort to the egos of Sen. Humphrey and Sen. David in return for their complete silence. It’s a buyout!
TAWU President Lewis and Public Workers Union President, Rachael Roberts have both given new life in the battle to protect workers’ rights in this current period.
Workers, do not buy into the propaganda being peddled by known NNP activists that Sister Roberts will be bought very soon by the PM and the NNP government.
The propaganda is aimed at weakening the labour movement. Chester has gone but the labour force will continue to remain strong.
Both Bro. Lewis and Sister Roberts have articulated strong positions and in the process drawing national attention to the definition of what is a permanent job (worker performing a task continuously over a period of time) and what is contract (a seasonal employment such as employing a worker for the busy holiday season).
Workers, this is your opportunity to seize the initiative and you ought not to be tricked by Prime Minister Mitchell’s untrustworthy words.
I want to remind the young workers of the nation that no financial institution will grant you a mortgage loan among others on a government or private sector repeating six-month contract twice per year.
Make this election one for the workers – the likes of Nicholas Steele and Simon Stiell represent the interest of the business class and they are aided and abetted by the likes of Peter David and Chester Humphrey – all for personal interest.
Comrade Maurice will not rest peacefully wherever his soul is to think that these two revolutionaries will prop up a regime that is led by an individual that they used to condemn as an agent of that well-known US spy agency.
As a matter of fact, Comrade Peter was expected as a captain in the army to be patrolling the beachfront at the night to protect Grenada from foreign invasion from agents of that spy agency.
Comrade Peter, did you take an oath along with other PRA soldiers to kill and massacre and bury in the sand all agents of that invading foreign force that you once accused your current leader of being associated as part of the anti-PRG campaign?