GAWU has always stood workers, working-class side

Dear Editor,
The GAWU’s attention was drawn to Mr Earl Hamilton’s letter titled “Another example of deception by GAWU” which was published in the September 09 2019. The letter writer has sought to add his views to the spirited discussion between our Union and Mr Lincoln Lewis regarding some aspects of the sugar industry. While certainly, Mr Hamilton has a right to express his views, we contend such views ought not to be tainted but rather reflective of what really transpired and what is factual.
Mr Hamilton charges our Union as a mouthpiece, seemingly of the PPP/C. Contrary to such warped thinking, the GAWU is the mouthpiece of no one but an ardent voice of our members and the working-class of Guyana. We have steadfastly and continuously stood on the side of the workers of our country as they face up to varied and multiple challenges in their quest for fairness, equity and social justice.
The letter writer says regarding the sugar industry that the “…decline and eventual death… would have affected the livelihoods of so many…”. Indeed, as our Union and others had warned, this reality is right now playing out in scores of communities at this very time and affecting too many Guyanese. The fact that this is generally recognizable brings into serious question the rationale/s that was advanced by the incumbent caretaker Administration regarding the industry’s minimization.
Mr Hamilton next contends that “…workers’ legal action for severance that originates from employment with a state entity, is one brought against the State”. What the letter writer seems to say, in our view, is that the State has a beholden responsibility, whether directly or indirectly, to the workers of the industry. With that in mind then it adds further confirmation that the State, led by the APNU+AFC, has been practicing naked discrimination when it chose to award pay rises to all workers of the State except those in the sugar industry.
The letter writer may really wish to consider our views regarding worker and trade union collaboration and co-operation. As we have pointed out, on several occasions, our Union has zealously and continuously called, supported and advocated increased and improved trade union solidarity. Through, our trade union centre – FITUG, the GAWU has expressed support and solidarity with workers facing up to challenges at their workplace. In more recent times, GAWU, through FITUG, has stood together with the nation’s teachers as they sought a fair deal, and with the workers of RUSAL to demand respect for the Union from the employer. Our Union has a long-standing history of standing on the side of the workers and the working-class. We have not forgotten whence we came and we believe standing together makes us stronger.
Today it is saddening that those who once called themselves friends and allies of the workers and who are firmly ensconced in cushy positions of State, have all but forgotten about the workers and their struggles for a better today and tomorrow.

Yours faithfully,
Seepaul Narine
General Secretary