– says 2022 was characterised by difficulties and victories
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) saw 2022 as a year that was unique from several perspectives. Indeed, as in years before, the Union confronted several challenges as it stood in defence of its members, and the working-class generally. Though this was daunting at times, the Union persevered, and, through its efforts, secured new gains as it won several battles on behalf of members. We are heartened by those victories, as it is demonstrable that the workers, when united, can succeed in winning their genuine demands.
As we will soon enter a new year, such lessons remain an inspiration for us to continue to advance our efforts, and to ensure greater protection of workers. As the year reaches its conclusion, we remain concerned, too, that several challenges still lurk, and will remain with us in the new year. Though disheartened, we are convinced that, like previous episodes, the workers will again win out…
In 2022, the heightening cost of living was an issue that attracted the attention of many workers. The Bureau of Statistics recorded that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 6.5% for the year up to October, 2022. Notably, the food CPI was nearly double, at 12.3%, over the same period.
Some may express doubt over the figures, given the situation in the markets, supermarkets, and shops. It is acknowledged, however, that prices grew greater than the usual growth during this year. We are mindful that, to a large extent, the price increases have their origins in occurrences taking place far beyond our borders, and of which we are unwitting victims. We recognise, too, the efforts of the Government taken to mitigate the price rises through several initiatives. Indeed, those were welcome, and we believe that without the proactive approach of the Administration, the bad situation could have indeed been worse. While pleased by such developments, we recognise it appears that savings realised through Government initiatives were not being passed on to the consumer. It is unfortunate that there may be some who, rather than seeking to share the relief offered by public policies, were seeking to profiteer. We are disappointed by such behaviour, as it represents yet another form of exploitation perpetrated against our people, especially the workers. We abhor those who engage in such practices, and we believe that a re-evaluation of policies may be necessary to seek to provide greater support to the people directly…
The GAWU is proud of its efforts and work expended during 2022. We have scored several victories and overcome many challenges. Inasmuch as we are reminded that the year was not all smooth sailing, as we experienced some level of difficulty, though it was challenging at times, we believe it has made us stronger and enhanced our capacity to defend our members.
Importantly, the year has demonstrated once again the resilience of mankind. It has shown that, in the face of adversity, we can overcome and emerge stronger. It causes us to be imbued with a resolve to go forward stronger, committed, and optimistic that though intrigues will always be formed against us, we will overcome and roundly defeat them.
The year demonstrated the correctness of our positions, and showed that despite adversity and difficulty, we can succeed in realising our reasonable objectives. As past generations of workers have shown us, we can overcome challenges and win out if our demands and struggles are just.
This is their abiding lesson to us, and this enduring message we should not forget: The working people must be always vigilant, militant, organisationally strong and united, and must always raise the banner of solidarity.
As we now enter a new year, we are hopeful that the trials and tribulations we faced can be erased. We are hopeful that injustices perpetuated can be righted. And we are hopeful that a better tomorrow will dawn.
Finally, at this time, we take this opportunity to extend best wishes for the New Year. May 2023 bring you all joy, happiness, and prosperity.