'Poor' showing for TUC and ABWU united Labour Day Rally

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Reunited, but, it didn’t appear to be very good for the joint Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) and the Antigua and Barbuda Trade Union Congress (ABTUC) Labour Day Rally.
The police estimate puts the crowd that gathered at the ABWU Freedom Hall on Newgate Street at no more than 200, even if one were counting a number of police officers on duty in uniform and those in plain clothes.
The turnout was the subject of discussion for many of the speakers who acknowledged those who braved the morning sun to show solidarity with the working class, but, called on the workforce to stand up with their peers.
Chester Hughes, senior industrial relations officer of the ABWU, in his address at the rally, suggested that politics has divided workers on the real issues relating to industrial matters.
“As trade unionists, we try to divorce the workers from the employers who are government and are wicked people.
We try to divorce the workers from the employers who are discriminating against them. Just a few days ago we saw the nurses and the public servants as they sought to maintain their rights and correct some of the wrongs,” Hughes told the small and scattered gathering.
Noting there are more than 10,000 people employed in Antigua and Barbuda, Hughes questioned their noticeable absence.
“Where are they? Where are they? They have divorced themselves from the institutions that represent them and we as trade unions have got to now reexamine what we are doing wrong and correct that because the politics has taken over Labour Day,” he said.
Hughes stated that if the trade unions fail to mobilise their membership then the politicians will continue to do so.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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