As many of you will know by now on Friday April 13th many industrial workers, primarily government workers downed tools to attend two meetings at Union HQ and also staged a demonstration of at least 400 workers (according to reporting) outside of the Ministry of Works and Engineering.
The industrial action stemmed from two relatively separate issues, the imposition of a new bus schedule on the bus drivers without proper consultation, and as it appear at the moment could risk endangering the lives of both bus passengers, bus drivers and other road users; and the labour issues revolving around the closure of the Devon Springs recycling plant and the opening of the new Baileys Bay recycling plant.
To begin with, I am a heavy bus user, and besides my own two feet, the bus is my primary mode of travel, and I want to state right now that I would like to see the bus routes allow a bus every fifteen minutes right up until midnight. In that, I am in complete agreement. But I am also in complete agreement with the concerns voiced by the bus drivers that the new schedule would appear to risk endangering people’s health if not lives by reducing the time available for bus drivers to recuperate before returning to shift, dangerously over expands the time period behind the wheel, and the schedule should have involved total consultation with the bus drivers to the degree that the bureacrats simply say ‘we would like to see a bus schedule that allows buses every fifteen minutes up to midnight’ and then allow the workers along with technical expert assistance to design such a schedule and put forward the necessary reccomendations to allow it (new buses, more bus drivers, etc.) and then see what can be implemented. Right now it appears to be an autocratic top-down order from the bureaucrats, and the raction by the workers is both understandable and predictable. Furthermore, this was not like a bolt out of the blue, as there were bus disruptions last year and negotiations revolving around the exact same schedule. That the burueacrats have failed to listen to the workers concerns lands the resulting blame for the industrial action squarley in their laps and not the workers.
As to the recycling plant issues, I am also very much in favour of the new plant and an expansion of the recycling program. Howeever, as I pointed out in the other thread on this site (new recycling plant) I was aware of some improper action by the bureaucratic-management in relation to the workers there and voiced my concern that lest the workers concerns were properly dealt with they will be compelled to take industrial action as is their right and duty. The arrogant action of bureaucratic managament in walking away from negotiations and threatening the existing workers was totally without necessity, although typical of their class. The blame for the industrial action there once more lies in the lap of management and we should all be pledging full support for the workers involved, and be willing to make our words flesh in direct action in support of the workers as they request it (helping to man pickets, etc.).
I do not think the Progressive Labour Party is directly to blame, and I believe the Union made this abundantly clear. The problem however lies with an entrenched mentality of the bureaucrats, and to the degree that we have not moved to dismantle the relic of colonial bureaucratic machinery and its mentality of top-down autocracy, but instead been content to try to change the system by simply swapping the heads (Ministers, etc.), we are to blame. The whole system needs reveresed into a bottom-up grassroots democratic model of workers councils and local parish councils federated into a national territorial council and national workers council, complete with total right of recall and mandated delegates. We’ve tried to play the game according to the rules left to us by the colonialists, and now its clear the system is not working. Its time to dismantle the hypocrisy of the Westminster democratic system which concentrates wealth and power into oligarchies with a facade of minimal democracy. Its time to build a revolutionary democracy that truly democratices the economy and political power.
All power to the working class!