Trade Union Development

Trade Union Development in Jamaica & Trinidad & Tobago Trade Unionism: Hugh W. Springer ? Trade Unionism is an instrument of social change and progress. It had to be invented because it is a necessary part of the apparatus of democratic government in modern industrial society. In the West Indies the Trade Union Movement came into existence as part of the larger movement for the freedom and independent nationhood. ?
Economic Conditions that contributed to Discontentment in the Region ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1st Great Depression late 19th Century Low Wages / Increased mechanisation of processes (affected mostly women) Rising Prices / Rising Cost of Living Increasing Unemployment & Underemployment Reduction in Working Hours 1929 Financial Crisis in the USA Other: – – – No Machinery to air grievances Lack of political and legal rights Unsanitary working conditions Role of the Media ? ? ?
Dissemination of information that reached the masses (Newspapers) but National Newspaper promoted capitalist interests Audio and Visual information through Radio broadcast and news reels at cinemas Case: A group of intellectuals developed a radical critique that help to shape a new political culture in Trinidad, they did so through – – – – A literary journal called Trinidad The beacon magazine There was also a similar type of vehicle used in Jamaica called the Plain Talk, a Garveyite weekly newspaper edited by Alfred Mendez & Public Opinion used by local intellectuals to write letters and articles

World Events as well as Social Factors that Contributed to Greater Levels of Consciousness at a Regional Level attacks on the Abyssinians – aroused anti-white feelings among the blacks ? Italian ? The repatriation of Labourers who had gone to Latin America ?Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association – which increased class solidarity and the advocacy of Trade Unionism as well as it contributed to the spread of Marxist ideas – workers had taken power and property from the Capitalist ? Russia ? Ex-servicemen returning home after World War 1
Welcome to Jamaica “Gud feh si yuh” Conditions Unique to Jamaica ? ? ? ? ? Crisis in Banana Production Mass migration in Kingston and St. Andrew Areas (urban) The Radicalisation of Waterfront Workers The influence of Marcus Garvey (who was deported back to JA from the US in1927) The Emergence of Rastafarianism – Leonard Howell Late 19th Century ? ? ? Angry protest broke out in many of the colonies Trade Unions were still illegal At least 16 serious disturbances occurred between 1884-1905 according to Bolland – – Most in Jamaica (1884,1894,1895,1901,1902 & 1912) Trinidad 1903
Jamaica ? ? ? The largest economy of the region They took the lead in confronting the Colonial Power-Structure Their history of rebellion – – Maroons victory in 1738 Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865 – in which Governor Eyre had to expeditiously abolish the Representative type Government and it found approval with the colonial office – New Constitution introduced – Crown Colony The Representative Type of Government Governors (representing the Imperial Powers) Conflict over power in the system particularly concerning finance Legislators (local vested Interest)
Local Crown Colony Structure Resident Governor (Autocratic Power) Executive Council (Policy – making) Legislative Assembly Nominated (majority) / Elected (minority) Jamaica ? Brief Overview – – – Prior to emancipation (during apprenticeship) there was a noticeable trek of wage labour Land acquisition had become popular among former slaves By the 1860s the majority of the labour force comprised of small farmers, peasants, rural (nonstate) labourers and independent semi-skilled tradesman – growing Black Middle Class Jamaica Pre 1930 ? ? ?
Between World War I & II, there were more vocalising of colonial exploitation and oppression The Mass movement Bedwardism, a quasireligious body of unemployed labourers was becoming popular The movement of Garveyism – philosophy of negritude improvement and denunciation of the white-power regime – United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Jamaica Pre 1930 Cont’d ? ? Both Bedwardism & Garveyism as Mass Movements suffered from the alienation of the Middle-Class Jamaicans But the Middle Class too was involved in the struggle with several quasi-political & nationalist organisations – – –
Social Reconstruction League The National Reform Association The Jamaica Progressive League Early Organised Labour ? ? ? Workers at the Kingston Ice Factory went on strike in 1917 and several were imprisoned In 1918 tram and dock workers began organising Several strikes took place in 1918 as a matter of fact a strike among sugar workers resulted in violent police action where 3 people were killed and several others injured
Early Organised Labour Con’t ? ? ? In 1919 railway workers formed a ‘union under cover’ called the Workingmen’s Cooperative Association Bain-Alves with the help of Alfred Mends formed the Jamaican federation of Labour (JFL) – a group of small unions The JFL petitioned the Governor for legal and official recognition for Trade Unions, which saw the TU Law became law in Oct. 25th 1919 The Trade Union Law ? ? ? Conferred legal status on registered Trade Unions and protected them from prosecution for conspiracy and unlawful combinations It did not confer immunity for Union and workers from liability of tort or breach of Contract It did not legalise peaceful picketing The strikes and organisation of workers in 1917 & 1918 provided the necessary pressure that resulted in the legalisation of TUs Post 1930 ? ? ? ? ?
Labour protest took place in 1935 along the North Coast although it was peaceful, armed forces were sent One person died, several people injured and several arrests were made In 1936 the Jamaica Workers and Tradesmen Union (JWTU) was formed and lead by A. G. S. Coombs and H. C. Buchanan Hunger marches followed in Kingston and Spanish Town led by L. W. Rose, a shoemaker and by UNIA organiser L. E. Barnett In 1937 there was a middle class reform – the National Reform Association (NRA) – Noel Nethersole (President); Ken Hill (Secretary) and F. A.
Glasspole – they had formed a radical, socially active network Post 1930 Cont’d ? ? ? ? Manley’s Jamaicans’ Labour Party was launched in April 1937 Manley had won the trust of the Colonial Officials He had refused to run for elections as well as to become the president of the NRA saying that the problems in Jamaica were social and economic not political So up to 1938 the two most serious attempts to organize working people were the JWTU and the Poor Man’s Improvement Land Settlement and Labour Association (PMILSLA) William Alexander Bustamante ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Opportunitist or Hero of the Working class?
While Coombs and Buchanan were financially pressed in an attempt to organize workers into the JWTU, they accepted assistance from Bustamante, who was a money lender He became the Union’s Treasurer in 1936 He went to Cuba at the age of 21, then moved to Panama a few years later before moving back to Cuba In 1928 he tried a dairy business in Jamaica but by 1932 he was in New York calling himself Alejandro Bustamanti In 1934 he finally returned to Jamaica He became a prolific writer of letters to the press and in 1936 was speaking at meetings, thus gaining popularity Bustamante challenged Coombs for the leadership of the JWTU but Coombs resigned before it could officially happened Bustamante after facing opposition from Coombs supporters quitted from the Union April – June 1938 ? ? ? ? ? According to Bolland – first was the riot and strike at Frome Estate in Westmoreland between April 29th – May 2nd Protest, Strikes and uprising in Kingston between May 2nd – May 28th – Mainly Dock workers Many Demonstrations, Riots and ‘Rolling Strikes’ throughout the Island between May 23rd – June 11th All of which were confronted by the armed forces Bustamante and Grant were charged with Sedition, inciting people to assemble unlawfully and refusing to move on when ordered to and taken to jail Cont’d ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? With the incarceration of the two Manley took a more prominent role using the ame strategy as Bustamante as a mediator opposed to trade union leader A state of emergency was declared By this time Bustamante was becoming a martyr and Hart and Buchanan did not want workers to return to work until Bustamante and Grant were released The Dock workers also did not want Manley’s advice In essence, Manley’s role as mediator was accepted by the Government and Employers but was rejected by the Waterfront workers This laid the foundation for the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) according to Bolland The Governor appointed a board of conciliation In response Manley announced the creation of a Labour Committee which was the foundation of the Labour Party in Jamaica (political strategy) Hart and Buchanan cooperated with the committee Cont’d ? ? ?
Manley was instrumental in the release of Bustamante on May 28th 1938 who was greeted by a large crowd but he claimed credit for doing better than Manley in terms of negotiating increases on their behalf Because of this impression created by Bustamante he was able to get workers to return to work Both cousins then worked with the Conciliation Board to settle other claims before it Rebellions after the Release of Bustamante ? ? ? ? ? ? On May 30 Mandeville in Manchester was full of demonstrations Roads were blocked and telephone wires cut in Santa Cruz and Black River in St Elizabeth Banana workers were on strike in St Mary, St Cathrine and Portland The strike at Prospect Estate in Hanover and Islington on June 2nd and 3rd respectively Several people were killed and more injured Both Bustamante and Manley travelled around the country trying to get strikers to accept offers made to them as they saw the bigger problem being unemployment Aftermath ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
The state intervened with a land settlement scheme, tools, seeds, etc According to the Commissioner’s report eight people were killed, scores injured both law enforcers and civilians and over four hundred person were convicted and given punishments Rivalry emerged between the two cousins Manley founded the People’s National Party (PNP) – British Fabian Socialism in September 1938 – Nationalistic An autocratic style of leadership was developed by Bustamante Bustamante registered his Union on 23rd January 1939 – Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) – labouristic The rules constituted him as president for life and gave him power to control its funds and to appoint a committee of Management – authoritarian style of leadership Disunity ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Within the Trade Union Movement itself there was a rivalry between Bustamante (President of BITU) and Coombs (President of JWTU) The BITU was growing rapidly and leaders from the JWTU were changing alliances But the JWTU remained popular among the banana and dock workers in St James After a worker who was also a member of the JWTU told Grant (BITU) his union is not wanted there an altercation ensued Bustamante then called an Islandwide strike Some workers heeded to the call and as a result a State of Emergency was issued The strike was a major failure and blow to the TU movement Disunity Cont’d ? ? ? Bustamante broke the truce and broke away from the Trade Union Advisory Council Protection from state for “strike breakers” Despite the evidence of need for unity the movements remained divided Analysis of the Rebellion ? Locality – – Rural – interest in land ownership Urban – more proletarianised ? ? ? Relations between Capital and Labour Levels of consciousness and organization of workers Known contradictions by the state Impact of the Rebellion in Jamaica ? ? ? ? ? ?
It provided an experience in labour politics that irreversibly changed the colony’s political culture It wrung several concessions from the colonial government Bustamante and Manley were promoted to the status of Leaders of the Labour and Nationalist Movement Appointment of a board of Conciliation – to settle labour disputes and make recommendations to relieve unemployment – this was also an indication of acceptance for negotiation between employees and employers Changes were made in the Jamaica’s Constitution in 1944 where the British-style Westminster Model was adopted The achievement of Universal Suffrage in 1944 Jamaica in the 1940s ? ? ? ? ? Bustamante was arrested from September 8th 1940 to 8th February 1942 Manley and the PNP’s left stepped in to revive the BITU There was a call from the PNP’s left wing for unity between the movements based on race and class consciousness which contributed to the growth of the anti-colonial and nationalist movement The PNP headed by Manley advocated for constitutional reform by demanding a Bicameral legislature.
Manley was also in favour of a Federation After Bustamante’s release the coalition was solidified between the BITU and the PNP with the mandate of changing the government but this collaboration was brief and ended in February 1942 Jamaica in the 1940s ? ? ? ? ? ? Despite the truce to keep the peace strikes broke out in St Thomas in 1940 (sugar workers) Leaders started demanding the publication of the Moyne Commission Report All strikes failed In 1942 there was an imposing of several restrictions through legislation again – Defence Projects and Essential Services (Trade Disputes) order Mid-1942 Jamaica was in serious crisis – increased unemployment The Citizens Emergency Council (CEC) was formed in May 1942 and included groups such as JTUC, JUWU, UNIA, FCA, Jamaica Union of Teachers as well as the Capitalist Association Jamaica in the 1940s ? ? ? ? ? ?
Henry and several other union activists lost their jobs on the railway and as a result they started to organise government workers Richards moved to have the unions not recognised as he saw potential danger for the transport system The Authorized Associations (Government Departments) (Defence) Regulation was passed to make it impossible for non-government employees to lead unions as it forbid membership of persons who were not government employees The GREU in particular cabled Citrine to intervene and Manley filed for an injunction against the Governor The 4Hs were detained under the same regulation but eventual the British government revoked it and restored the right for government employees to select their own officials These efforts however did not equate into similar numbers as the BITU base Manley / PNP / NWU’s Operations ? ? ? ? Manley’s PNP contributed to the constitutional change towards self-government in 1943 Aimed at uniting all the classes in Jamaica The PNP’s policy was formally socialist Manley expelled the “4 Hs” in 1952 and formed the National Workers Unions (NWU) which was largely responsible for his victory in the 1955 elections Bustamante / BITU / JLP ? ? ? ? ? ?
Bustamante did not really campaign for constitutional reform but was priming himself for the opportunity when it came through the formation of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Instead the JLP advocated a conservative reformist policy which aimed to narrow the socio-economic gap JLP was supported by the old propertied elite In essence there was the formation of an alliance between the leading labour leader and the leading capitalist The BITU won elections in 1946 and as Minister of Communications became a source of additional power and as a promotional opportunity The BITU also expanded its power through closed shop agreements and took a law & order stance in dealing with IA Violent Clashes Between the BITU/JLP & PNP/NWU ? ? On October 20th 1947 – at Trench Pen left several BITU/JLP members dead and wounded PNP Supporter – J. Nicholas after being threatened by the BITU gang shot and killed Clifford Reid Jamaica Conclusion ? ? The evolution of self-government weakened the ability of organised labour to influence class structure and class relations Political reforms created competitions within the labour movement at the expense of meaningful social change Trinidad and Tobago
An Overview ? ? ? ? ? ? Slavery had lasted a relatively short period of time in T compared to Jamaica and other Islands The Building up of the Mass Movement was much slower because there was no common base upon which that spirit of national consciousness could have been forged Middle class support however, was quicker and forthcoming The earliest and longest lasting organisation of working people in the British Caribbean was the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association (TWA) – 1897 – it had two divisions TWA was involved in Political reform than it was in Trade Unionism By WWI there was no organisation devoted to the rank-andfile workers’ T Pre 1930 ? ? ?
The general social system mirror that of the UK In the 1830s in the UK Trade Unions had not been fully established It was only in the latter half of the 19th Century that the legislative and institutional framework was attaining that stage of development which would enable a free labour movement to emerge T Pre 1930 Cont’d ? ? ? ? ? In 1917 workers in oil and asphalt industries were involved in serious disturbances The strikes had all failed Strikers were arrested and some were given prison sentences The TWA by 1919 became the main agency for collective political and industrial action Although still illegal organised Labour was clearly progressing Three Main Sectors ? ? Sugar Cocoa •Prices depressed due to drop in world prices in early 1920s (2nd Great Depression) • mechanisation of the production processes – increased unemployment ? Oil – although substantial profits – workers earned little T Post 1930 ? ? ? ?
New radical leadership started to develop Politically motivated militant groups began to agitate and organise workers including the unemployed TWA had become less effective and united as an organisation A rival organisation called the Trinidad and Tobago Trade Union centre was formed and gained popularity in the 1930s T Post 1930 Cont’d ? ? ? ? ? The Trade Union Ordinance came into being in 1932 It made Trade Unions legal However it did not legalise peaceful picketing and provided immunity for them from legal actions for damages arising out of strike actions In 1934 however, Butler did not register a Trade Union instead it was a political party named Trinidad Labour Party (TLP) There was increasing dissatisfaction within the TWA/TLP over Cipriani’s authoritarian leadership T Post 1930 Cont’d ? ? ?
A series of hunger marches and demonstrations were taking place between 1933-1935 Several new organisations were formed and they attacked Cipriani’s leadership of the Labour movement, mobilised workers and initiated new, radical labour politics In fact there was a hunger march to the Governor in the Red House in June 1933 T Post 1930 Cont’d ? ? In 1934 the National Unemployment Movement formed by Elma Francois, Jim Barrette and Jim Headley who organised demonstrations that spread like wildfire through the country By 1935 the NUM had transformed itself into an organisation with more broadly defined goals but narrower social base, the Negro Welfare Cultural and Social Association (NWCSA) T 1935 – Activities that paved the way for the Labour Riots of 1937 ? ? ? ? ? ? Apex Oilfields went on strike During a hungry march to POS organised by
Butler and Rojas they were stopped by police and Cipriani This event marked the start of Butler’s rise as a labour leader in the oilfields of southern Trinidad Links were also made between Butler and NWCSA The Trinidad Citizens’ League (TCL) founded by Adrian Cola Rienzi who was crazed about Indian nationalism and world socialism Butler and Rojas were a part of the TCL as well 1936 ? ? ? Butler started his party called the British Empire Workers and Citizens Home Rule Party (BEWCHRP) He declared himself “Chief Servant” He was not a revolutionary but a traditional leader according to Bolland…. he had socialist and anti-imperialist ideas like Rienzi and NWCSA who really provided leadership direction and organisation for the emergence of Trade Unions
Where there Employers Organisations all the while? ? Yes T 1937 ? ? ? Poor working conditions fuelled labour riots and strikes from June 1937 Tubal Uriah Butler had become the catalyst that was needed for industrial action in the oil districts Butler and his organisers planned peaceful (sit-down) strikes restricted to the Oil Industry June 1937 ? ? ? The strikes were carded for June 22nd but due to information from the armed forces it was brought forward to June 18th It was an island-wide labour Crisis that involved all industries including Tobago Few people died including a police officer and several were injured This will take us to Charlie King Junction State Intervention ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
The Governor came up with a double policy of ‘conciliation’ and ‘repression’ He announced that he would seek a settlement ‘which will be fair to employers and employees alike’ A State of Emergency was declared on June 26th A committee of the Executive Council was appointed to hear the workers’ grievances and seek reconciliation The Governor proposed new rates (minimum wages) for Government Workers Oil companies agreed to raise the minimum wage and shorten working hours A commission of inquiry was also launched into the disturbances Collective Bargaining ? On July 25th 1937 a committee of oil workers publicly announce their intention for a union to conduct negotiations via the process of Collective Bargaining The fact that Trinidad had become the British empire’s largest producer of oil ‘was an important determinant of imperial policy towards the labour disturbances’ By the end of 1937….. ? Six Unions had gained official recognition from the colonial government, they were: – – – – – –
Amalgamated Building & Wood Workers Trade Union – 1st to register Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) All Trinidad Sugar Estates and Factory Workers Trade Union Federated Workers Trade Union Seamen & Waterfront Workers Trade Union Public Works Workers Trade Union The Colonial Government in T ? ? ? ? Governor Fletcher admittedly expressed concern over the extremely low wages paid to workers especially in the sugar and oil industries Nankivell, the colonial secretary was even more outspoken, he pointed out that the cost of living was increasing and the Government’s revenue increased as industries prospered while workers situation had continued to get worse They displayed a more humane view of workers than Employers But it was short lived as pressure from the capital class amounted and Fletcher opted to strengthens laws at the detriment of Trade Unions
Impact of the Rebellion in T ? ? ? The commission recommended – the creation of a labour department – the appointment of a labour officer to act as mediator and arbitrator between employer and employees – The establishment of an Industrial Court – An amendment to the workers’ compensation law to include agricultural labourers On the other hand however laws were passed to strengthen sedition, restrain public meeting and public speakers and they also made illegal for more than ten persons to gather in public These represented Labour, legislative and Political reforms and employee rights such as the right to negotiate and air grievances Impact Cont’d ? ? ? ? ? Development of an organised advanced labour movement between 1937 and 1939 Universal suffrage Uniting of races to put forward a class struggle Rienzi established the Committee of Industrial Organisation (CIO) which was a precursor to the TTTUC which formed in 1939 Proliferation of labour rights as human Rights issues But these civil/human rights did not address the discrimination of women in Labour According to Bolland ? “The salience of race and class, and their relationship to the structure and fluctuating fortunes of the economy, were central to the emergence of the Labour movement in Trinidad” Industrial Action at its Best ? ? ? ? ? ?
Clement Payne referred to a strike put on by women working in a garment factory who were demanding increased wages and better living conditions when negotiations broke down in 1939 After a week of strike other workers from other factories joined in, in sympathy Conciliation had failed Other Unions pledged assistance and supported a boycott of all the stores displaying the clothing Although the employers tried to break the strike by using strike breakers, it did not work They gained 12% wage increase, an eight hour day, 2 weeks annual vacation, protective clothing & a system of shop-floor representation Further Organization ? ? ? The OWTU was represented by Rienzi and Mentor at the 2nd Guianese and West Indian Labour Conference in British Guiana The Trinidad and Tobago Trades Union Council was formed in March 1939 and was modelled after the British TUC Scholarships were made available from the British TUC for Trade Unionists to study abroad Moyne Commission (1938 – 1939) Recommendations ? ? ? ? ? ?
The enactment of laws to protect trade unions from actions for damages consequent on strikes; legalisation of peaceful picketing; compulsory registration of Trade Unions; and audit of their funds Interim Labour departments /officers to cover the period until Trade Unions can play a decisive role in the regulation of wages and conditions of employment The appointment of a Labour Advisor at the Comptroller of the West Indian Welfare Fund who would maintain close liaison with Labour Officers/Departments The establishment of a Labour Department in the Colonial Office and the appointment of a Labour advisory Committee whose members are experts in Labour and colonial questions The creation of wages boards as a means of fixing wages preferable t legislation The establishment of an Industrial Court for the West Indies Moyne Commission (1938 – 1939) Recommendations ? ? ? ? ? The establishment of unemployment insurance Adequate factory inspection and factory legislation The adoption of a Workmen’s Compensation Scheme based on Canadian practice In the sugar industry – the imposition of welfare levies to finance welfare schemes They also recommended the following : – The appointment of women on all Boards and Local authorities which includes government office, judicial office and public office Butler ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Butler was working class and displayed an authoritarian leadership style On
May 6th 1939 Butler was released from Prison He was incorporated into the OWTU Despite a clear procedure to deal with grievances and lack of the Union’s support, Butler urged workers to strike As a result he was expelled from the OWTU in August 1939 Butler continued to stir up unrest in the oil belt and was imprisoned until 1945 and continued to lead his BEWCHRP Butler major supporters were in the southern oil belts and they remained faithful to him so much so that the strike called by him in December 1946 was successful Butler was the only Labour leader that made a genuine attempt to unify the masses and was unwilling to compromise with employers and colonial administrators Disunities in the 1940s ? Divisions in the economy – – Imperial Capitalist (sugar and oil industries) Local Capitalist (cocoa, coconut and food crop sector) Indian Indentured labours African Trinidadians Middle Class leaders (Rienzi) Working class leaders (Butler) ? Divisions in the working class – – ? Divisions in the labour – – Sectoral Divisions that hampered an Unified Political Movement Divisions by Race African descent Indian Chinese European There were further divisions in terms of class, place of residence and religion.
Political Activities in the 1940s ? ? ? ? ? Rienzi and the OWTU launched the Socialist Party of T (SPTT) in March 1941 There were some minor constitutional changes where the number of electives on the legislative council was increased from seven to nine and the number of electives on the executive council was increased to two Chief officers of the OWTU were also members of the TTTUC and in 1943 they advocated for Rienzi’s elevation to the EC This caused Gomes, Pitt and Joseph of the San Fernando Borough to turn against him In November of 1943 Rienzi’s SPTT nominees were defeated in the San Fernando Borough elections Political Activities in the 1940s Cont’d ? ? ? ? ? ?
Soon after Pitt and Joseph formed the rival WINP (early 1942) The franchise committee put forward a report but Rienzi had a minority position which was supported by the Governor In February 1944 Rienzi was offered the position of acting Second Crown Council in the Colonial Service, a position he accepted and Rojas succeeded him at the OWTU In 1944 the EC increased to four but the Governor still was not obligated to go on the advise of this council In 1944 there was also the adoption of universal suffrage for all adults over 21 but candidates for election had to be literate in English, with an income not less than $960/yr or property valued at least $5,000. 00 Cipriani died in 1945 Political Activities in the 1940s Cont’d ? ? ? ? ? ?
Elections were held on July 1st 1946 by this time Rienzi also exited the political arena In light of these two major losses to the political world new ambitions blossomed, the WINP although formed in 1942 became more active in 1944 and gained the support of the FWTU. In WINP was later converted into the United Front (UF) Some of the TLP leader left the organization and formed the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) both of which had no success in this election Three seats were won each to the UF and BEWCHRP, the SPTT won two and one to an independent candidate The major leaders failed to secure a win There was no self-government at this time Unrest in 1947-1949 ? ? ? ? ? ?
The Public Works Union (PWU) called a strike in Port of Spain on January 8th 1947 App. 1200 of Butler’s supporters staged a protest march in through the capital Sugar Workers led by Ranjit Kumar who opposed the Sugar Workers Union went on strike on May 5th 1947 OWTU admitted that the influx of Butlerites strengthened the Union in terms of militancy and size On April 28th 1949 Butler petitioned the Colonial Secretary in the UK and several of his supported protested against the new constitution which allowed for 8 of the 26 seated not to be elected On May Day the TTTUC held a demonstration in San Fernando and Butlers Party held one in Port of Spain Elections 1950 and beyond ? ? ? ? ? ?
Elections 18th September 1950 Out of the 18 seats contested Butler’s Party – BEWCHRP won six seats The Trinidad Labour Party (TLP) and Political Progress Group (PPG) won two each, the Caribbean Socialist Party (CSP) won one and the other seven were won by independents, Gomes was the only other leader to be elected Two of the independents joined with the BEWCHRP and thus formed the largest group in the legislature (8 seats) Butler and his members were bypassed for a position of the Executive Council although he deserved it Butler attempted elections again in 1956 but was defeated by Eric Williams and the People’s National Movement (PNM) Industrial Stabilization Act 1965 ? During the early 1960s the industrial relations climate in Trinidad and Tobago was tense. There was an increasing number of strikes and labour disputes which threatened the economic growth and productivity of the country ? ? As a result the Industrial Stabilisation Act, 1965, was enacted Later repealed and replaced by the Industrial Relations Act , 1972, Chapter 88:01 Industrial Relations Act 1972 ? ? An Act to make better provision for the stabilization, improvement and promotion of industrial relations.
The IRA provides for the following: – Free collective bargaining between employer and workers through their representative associations, – The development of a peaceful and expeditious procedure for the settlement of disputes, – The establishment of the Industrial Court, – The recognition and registration of trade unions, – The freedom to be represented by a trade union and the right not to associate, and – Industrial action which may be taken by both employer and employee In Short Trade Union Movement Decolonisation (the establishment of democratic Westminster-style) Independence (the middle classes controlled political parties) Regional and International Alliances ? ? ? ?
The TTTUC progressed into other alliances such as: The Caribbean Labour Congress (CLC) began in 1945 World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) 1st conference was held in 1945 CODORIT and its parent ORIT who were financially dependent on the AFL External Factors that also affected the Trade Movement Post 1930 ? ? ? ? The second World War (WW2) – 1939-1945 The decline of the British Empire The rise of the United Sates of America The Cold War – 1947-1991 Globalisation ? Is one of the reasons why a regional body was not formed. Issues of foreign investments, potential for wealth accumulation which depended largely on competition. Facts of Both Countries Jamaica Trinidad & Tobago
Tripartite Labour Relation & Industrial disputes Act 1975 (A1978 & 1986) Ministry of Labour – advise, direction, conciliation, Pay & conditions of employment, monitors Tripartite Industrial Stabilization Act 1965 Industrial Relations Act 1972 Ministry of Labour – conciliation Trade Union Act 1919 Majority Trade Union – representational ballot Joint Industrial Councils Industrial Disputes Tribunal (decision not final) Trade Union Ordinance 1933 Trade Union Act 1950 Majority Trade Union according to Law No industry wide negotiations Industrial Court Fact of both Countries Cont’d Jamaica Trinidad & Tobago Collective Agreements not legally binding Collective Agreements legally binding
Industrial Action permissible only for Industrial Action permissible for interest disputes interest disputes No legal right to strike 20% Union Density as at 1988 Legal right to strike 25% Union Density as at 1988 Sequence of Institutional Building ? ? ? Jamaica – the trade union movement provided the base for political party growth (struggles there gave raise to constitutional reform) T – similar to that of Jamaica (constitutional changes towards universal suffrage and self government gave rise to political parties) Therefore literature refers to it as the politics of labour which impacted the culture of politics throughout the Caribbean Conclusion ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Similar conditions exist today Similar conclusions/recommendations in all the inquiries Use the Police and the Police involvement in riots Treatment of leaders/organizers according to Elma Francois cited in Bolland “In Trinidad when the workers ask for bread they get bullets and jail sentences” There were two (2) sectors in upper classes (i) the colonial Power/officials and (ii) the capitalist, where the capitalist was backed by the colonial state Socio-Economic situation remained intact despite constitutional reform Rulers became authoritarian The weakness of the Labour and Nationalist Movement was the fact individuals wanted to pursue there selfish ambitions Labour colleges were formed in both countries References ? ? ? ? ? ? On the March: Labour rebellion in the British Caribbean, 1934-1939 – O. Nigel Bolland The Politics of Labour in the British Caribbean: The Social Origins of Authoritarianism and Democracy in the Labour Movement – O. Nigel Bolland Rise and Organise: The Birth of the Workers and National Movement in Jamaica – Richard Hart Report of the West India Commission – The Moyne Commission Labour Education in the British Caribbean ed. Rawle Farley – education for Trade Unionist Trade Unionism and Industrial Relations in the Commonwealth Caribbean: History, Contemporary Practice and Prospect – Lawrence Nurse

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