Roget: Workers must fight against ‘plantation life’

Crit­i­cal of Gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the econ­o­my, re­trench­ments, a high mur­der toll and a fail­ing health sys­tem, Joint Trade Union Move­ment (JTUM) leader An­cel Ro­get says that at­tempts were be­ing made to re­turn the work­ing class to plan­ta­tion life.

Ro­get made a call for cit­i­zens to unite and re­build so­ci­ety on the ba­sis of eq­ui­ty and so­cial jus­tice dur­ing the 82nd Labour Day cel­e­bra­tions in Fyz­abad on Wednes­day.

He said that un­der the cur­rent sys­tem of gov­er­nance, on­ly the elites were pros­per­ing while the CEPEP work­ers, gas sta­tion and gro­cery work­ers, se­cu­ri­ty guards, hard­ware and store work­ers strug­gle to get by.

He called on the work­ing class to shift the bal­ance of pow­ers on the street and in the Par­lia­ment as the JTUM launch­es Labour’s Truth Plat­form.

Ro­get pon­dered whether the Gov­ern­ment was en­gag­ing in so­cial re-en­gi­neer­ing, to fa­cil­i­tate the re­turn of the plan­ta­tion sys­tem. He said it seemed like­ly as they have aban­doned the Eco­nom­ic De­vel­op­ment Ad­vi­so­ry Board and the Na­tion­al Tri­par­tite Ad­vi­so­ry Coun­cil. He said in­struc­tions were now be­ing tak­en from par­ty fi­nanciers. 

“The facts are that un­der this gov­ern­ment’s eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, busi­ness­es have closed down, wages have de­creased, the stan­dard of liv­ing has fall­en and many thou­sands of work­ers have been sent home. It is un­be­liev­able that while thou­sands of work­ers go home, the gov­ern­ment rushed through the Par­lia­ment in quick haste in­creased pen­sions for MPs. 

“Can you imag­ine it is re­port­ed in one of the dai­ly news­pa­pers, that the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al ac­tu­al­ly said that the wider so­ci­ety was not the pri­or­i­ty and that he will not apol­o­gise for pen­sion in­creas­es. Clear­ly, this is a reck­less dis­re­gard and con­tempt for so many thou­sands of work­ers who were al­ready sent home with no mon­ey and al­so our re­tirees with low and fixed pen­sions with no in­crease for them.” Ro­get told trade union­ists at Char­lie King Junc­tion.

He said while gov­ern­ment mem­bers were fo­cused on them­selves, they were ig­nor­ing re­tired po­lice of­fi­cers, teach­ers, prin­ci­pals, Ch­aguara­mas De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­i­ty work­ers, NIB work­ers and oth­ers pub­lic sec­tor re­tirees who have to wait two-three years just to ac­cess their pen­sion. He warned that the gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion was to in­crease the re­tire­ment age for NIS to 65 while re­duc­ing min­i­mum pen­sion by six per cent each year be­fore age 65.

He called on the gov­ern­ment to put off fix­ing them­selves and give pri­or­i­ty to all the re­tirees who would have al­ready made their con­tri­bu­tion to na­tion­al de­vel­op­ment. 

But for the work­ers at CEPEP, su­per­mar­kets, gas sta­tions and var­i­ous shops, he ques­tioned how they were able to af­ford rent, gro­ceries, cloth­ing, util­i­ties and trans­porta­tion for them­selves and their chil­dren. Even worse, he said, par­ents now have to pay for toi­let pa­per, chalk and oth­er ba­sic school sup­plies in the pub­lic schools. 

“How do they get by with un­der $5,000 per month. These work­ers are at the low­est end of the eco­nom­ic lad­der.” 

He said that if cit­i­zens were hon­est, they would ad­mit that the coun­try was not func­tion­ing in the in­ter­est of the mass­es and that peo­ple are tru­ly suf­fer­ing on a dai­ly ba­sis.

“Let us be re­al. It is the truth that to­day, we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a high and ris­ing cost of liv­ing with prices in­creas­ing on a dai­ly ba­sis. But while this is hap­pen­ing, im­porters are mak­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions in prof­it at the ex­pense of our lo­cal farm­ers and our agri­cul­ture sec­tor.”

Reporter: Kevon Felmine

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