Canon Clarke: Trade unions must keep focus
By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Monday, July 16 2012
click on pic to zoom in
CELEBRATION TIME: Members of the Oilfield Workers' Trade Union lead comrades in song at Saturday's Interfaith Service to mark the union's 75th anniver...
CANON Knolly Clarke has called on the trade union movement to keep focus on their responsibility to working class people.
Clarke was speaking on Saturday at an interfaith service to mark Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) 75th year anniversary at the OWTU’s Paramount Building, Circular Road, San Fernando.
Clarke dispelled the view held by some that trade unions were no longer relevant in the 21st century workplace.
According to Clarke, “Trade unions must keep focus. That is the challenge for us at this time. Unions must struggle for the well being of the working class people of the nation. This struggle is long and hard. Some say unions are like dinosaurs, and very soon they would be extinct. Unless we keep focus, we can be distracted.”
Clarke told the gathering of trade union leaders and their respective membership that the OWTU’s diamond jubilee was being celebrated at a time when 30 per cent of the nation was living under the poverty line. He urged labour leaders to take stock of their role and functions, saying: “How can we celebrate a national jubilee when 30 percent of our nation are living under the poverty line? There must be a time when we as a people must look at ourselves. As we come to celebrate our own diamond jubilee, let us think about how we can make TT a better place.”
Clarke also spoke of local politics, acknowledging that persons who were loyal to party and friends, now sit in positions of authority in the country.
“We have to be vigilant, especially when so much things are threatened. Loyalty to party, friends and family now sits in position of responsibility. No longer expertise; no longer the person who can do the job, but loyalty to friends is the benefactor.”
The outspoke clergyman also bemoaned a breakdown of moral and spiritual values in the country, because, according to him, institutions in the country were not fulfilling their roles.