The People’s National Congress Reform joins with the rest of Guyana in remembering Lallabajee, Pooran, Harry (Jug), Surujbally and Rambarran, those five sugar workers who made the supreme sacrifice in order to secure better working conditions from their employers, the then Colonial Sugar Barons.

The commemoration of the Enmore Martyrs should be a national occasion to celebrate the achievements of the Trades Union Movement. Sadly, it is evident that the rights of workers are under threat and the political environment, being fostered by the PPP regime, is hostile to the full development of all workers and their unions.

Regrettably, sixty four (64) years after their death, and thirty six (36) years after the L.F.S. Burnham led People’s National Congress Government dedicated the monument, built to honour their memory, at Enmore on the East Coast of Demerara, the PPP/C regime still feels compelled to seek to manipulate sugar workers as convenient political allies, while pursuing a relentless programme to divide and weaken the labour movement and undermine the rights of, particularly, public sector workers.

The Government has been executing their blatantly hostile efforts to destroy the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), as the legitimate representative of the Trades Union Movement in Guyana, bolstered by such acts as the withdrawal of the annual subvention, fought for and obtained by the workers from the PNC Government, and the refusal to pay the National Assembly approved subvention for the workers’ education institution, the Critchlow Labour College.

The Government also continues their vicious, arrogant and insensitive assault on Public Sector workers and their Union, including the conversion of significant Public Service entities into Public Corporations, the stopping of the “check-off” system to the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and the effective abolition of the Collective Bargaining process, clearly in violation of the ratified ILO Convention by the Government.

The brazen abuse of the Contract Employee mechanism to bypass the Public Service Commission, generously reward cronies in the Office of the President and shamelessly undermine the wages of traditional Public Service employees, is yet another example of the anti working class programmes being pursued by the PPP/C in Government.

The PNCR takes this opportunity, as we commemorate and remember the sacrifice of the Enmore Martyrs, to remind the nation that, after 20 (twenty) years of the PPP in Government, the rights of the workers and their unions and the struggle for a “living wage” must once again become a priority on our National Agenda.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 15th June 2012

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