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PSA ‘rebels’ join Labour Day rally
Although Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke was absent from yesterday’s Labour Day celebrations in Fyzabad, members of his union were in attendance. A group, led by first vice-president Rosanna Robinson, took part in the march dressed in the PSA’s green T- shirts, dragging and beating a bobolee of Duke. With them was another group who branded themselves the PSA Rebels.
Holding a banner which read “Disgruntled, Dissatisfied and Disadvantaged Public Officers,” they called for Duke to step down. “We don’t want five per cent and even though an agreement has been signed, we are sending a clear message,” Robinson said.
“We don’t know who Duke is working for, but it is certainly not the public servants.” Duke said the PSA’s general council decided against joining with other trade union at Fyzabad because he was not allowed to mount the Labour Day platform. The main issue at yesterday’s march and rally was the labour movement’s rejection of government’s five per cent wage offer. One man’s placard read: “Kamla we are not afraid of you. You have gone against the worker’s agenda. One term no more.” Acting Labour Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, a former trade unionist and Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma, looked on at the activities from the UNC constituency office as government ministers were not invited to take part in this year’s celebrations. The annaul activities began with a marathon and walkathon from the OWTU headquarters at Circular Road, San Fernando.
Around 9 am, OWTU president Ancil Roget and other union leaders laid wreaths at the statue of labour pioneer Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler. They did the same at the grave sites of other trade unionists, then made their way to the Guapo Road monument of La Brea Charles who was killed in 1937 by police who mistook him for Butler. There was a colourful and festive atmosphere as hundreds gathered at Avocat Junction for the annual march, then chipped through the streets accompanied by the Laventille Rhythm Section, Trinmar Marine Steel Band, the Petrotrin Cadet Corps and music trucks.
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