Solidarity breeds solidarity: Trinidadian trade unionists back 30 November strike
As mentioned before, building stronger unions anywhere makes for stronger unions everywhere, and solidarity breeds solidarity. So as well as the support we’re receiveing from the US National Nurses Union, it was great today to hear from David Abdulah, the President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) of Trinidad and Tobago. His uncompromising message of support for striking public sector workers (David’s from the oil industry himself) and the importance of their fight for pensions justice is a good enough read on its own. But it’s even better when you recall that just under two years ago we were protesting to his Government about the harassment of his own trade union, and the arrest of David himself (charges were later dropped, and the Government thrown out at the next General Election…) So, thanks David – it’s great to hear from you!
And next time the TUC asks for solidarity for trade unionists in trouble overseas, please respond. They may be in a position to return the favour sooner than you expect.
David’s message reads:
Dear Comrade Barber,
On behalf of all member units of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) of Trinidad and Tobago I extend solidarity to the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) as you engage in one of the largest joint public sector strikes within recent history. In this time, as the system of global capitalism finds itself further entrenched in crisis and social movements the world over face heightened right-wing backlash, actions such as these, which you will be undertaking on November 30, are particularly important to send a clear message that popular forces led by the labour movement are working to counter such reactionary elements.
Additionally, the issue around which Wednesday’s mobilization would be centred – Pensions Justice – is undoubtedly a key and important issue. Workers’ organizations such as trade unions ought not to limit their efforts and struggles to defending the rights of those who are currently working, and to demand just salaries and wages on behalf of these workers. Our fight must include ensuring just compensation for our retirees and securing fair compensation for today’s workers upon their own retirement. Pensions must be recognized as a key instrument of social protection, and therefore of social justice.
Within recent times, against the backdrop of the global economic and financial crisis we have seen many examples of people’s organizations seizing the moment and making their voices heard against injustice and inequity. The year 2011 in particular was replete with examples of such action, with the Arab Spring earlier in the year and now with the Occupy Movement, which had its beginnings at the core of the global financial system, Wall Street. It is significant that even as this crisis of capitalism deepens, and the owners and managers of big capital and their political representatives seek to propagate the falsehood that workers and their trade unions should not engage in struggle, your Congress is taking the struggle to a new level.
I reiterate our solidarity and support as you undertake this significant action.
Long live Workers’ Power!