GAWU must be the most outdated institution of its kind

Dear Editor,

When one listens to Mr Seepaul Narine of GAWU, he or she could only wonder why he and his union have not come to grips with the fact that they must be the most outdated institution of their kind, certainly in the Caribbean, and beyond of course.

It is a discouraging mindset, riveted in the past, insisting on acclaiming ‘customs and practice’ in an age wherein they contradictorily support the establishment of the failed computerised elephantine factory at Skeldon Estate.

It must have the record of the fastest failure in the history of sugar factories anywhere in the world. It just did not survive long enough to become a ‘custom and practice’.

One wonders whether GAWU’s trade union colleagues have any idea of what are ‘obstacles’ – a price-gouging element in which its members take pride, and which the management of the past two decades willingly conceded.

Where in this global era do managers and managed (unionised or not) talk of ‘long established practices which have evolved over the years’ in a preeminently digital environment in which their own children are growing up, and most probably wondering what is ‘unique’ about being archaic (to the point of being counter-productive).

And when a union actually boasts about having the lowest number of strikes (150 in 2016), surely its executives must feel a sense of pride at an achievement that colleague unions across the Caribbean can hardly contemplate. It would be useful for the GTUC to do a comparative analysis.

One could risk a guess that any one crop of strikes in the sugar industry would outnumber the total man-days lost in any industry in the Caribbean over the last five years.

One continues to get the impression that, without confrontation, strikes, and dislocations, GAWU would feel bereft of its anachronistic self-justification of its existence.

Yours faithfully,

E B John


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