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Friday, September 22 2017 @ 08:12 PM AST

David Abdulah on trade union contracting workers for boats on seabridge: OWTU would never

Abdulah on trade union supplying workers for Govt seabridge:
OWTU would never sub-contract workers to Petrotrin

Delivering the feature address at the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) long-service awards Saturday (Sept. 9) evening at Paria Suites in La Romaine, San Fernando, political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), David Abdulah, a former OWTU general secretary himself, said: "The institution develops on the basis of rules that keep us together, and focused and so on, as an organisation; the culture, how do we function, how do we behave, how do we operate as a trade union. So the Oilfield Workers Trade Union is a different trade union. We would never set up a company, for example, and then employ workers to contract out services to the Super Fast Galicia, like another trade union does, or to the (T&T) Express (ferry). We're not in the seamen's business but we wouldn't contract out services into Petrotrin, in the same way that Seamen & Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) has no difficulty setting up a company and contracting out workers and then have those workers complain about being exploited by the very union which employs them and which is supposed to represent them. So that's a very different culture of unionism and we have had a very different culture of unionism over the years."

Abdulah said: "How the staff in labour relations perform will determine the success of the union." He said: "If our accounts department can't be effective, then our members will say, 'Where did the money go?' It's like Trinidad and Tobago now. Where did the money go? Where did the taxpayers money go? Cabo Star, or this one, Bridgeman's? You never, ever, ever, ever heard in the OWTU even the whiff of a scandal like what happens in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, past, present, and so on. [Applause from audience] Never ever heard that! And that's because the accounts department makes sure we are properly accounted for. We get audited every year, not once but twice - once by our internal auditor and then by the government-appointed auditor."

He said: "If the education and research department (of the OWTU) doesn't engage in raising consciousness, and training our officers and shop stewards, and getting information out to our members, and building solidarity, then we can't achieve our mission of giving voice to the voiceless through organising, educating and political action. So in every aspect of the work of the union, you the employee are vitally important to the success of the union."

Honoured for their long service, which Abdulah described as a 'vocation' when performed for a trade union, were Barbara Allen (37 years), Kathleen George-Whyte (37 years), Rawtee Sinanan (37 years), Wendy Arthur-Lopez (37 years), Curtis Lopez and Withphild Edwards (20-24 years, Maurisa Gordon-Thomas, Denise Patterson, Kalisha Phillip-Mc Leod, Lawrence Turpin, Anthony Henry, Nishaan Motiram and Sherry Ann Sandy (15-19 years).

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