The Grenada Revolution Online

Why the Workers Move?

[hand printed] Why The Workers Move?

[typed] In addition to the facts reflected in the resolution, the workers also highlighted some serious grievances which they regarded as the limitation and violation of their most elementary (sic) rights and freedom. Although the March 13th Revolution openly denounced any form of victimisation of workers by management, the human rights and freedoms of the River Antoine workers continue being trampled and violated in an unprecedented way. The De Gales and their hangers-on, their stooges, forcefully transformed the rights and freedoms of the workers into a private luxury in order to be able to better exploit and oppress the workers, thus advancing and developing an increasingly more unjust, more unequal, more manipulating economic system of their capitalist class, of this privilege minority which has always from the time of slavery been against the workers.

Prior to the workers memorial February 13th victory, the overseer on the River Antoine estate used his cutlass and inflicted six serious blows on the back of "Tug", a worker whose labour for twelve years has fatten the pockets of the De Gales. The overseer name Talbert, adapting similar habits of the deceased Roy Donald once manager of the said estate, willingly accept monies from workers as a form of security whenever they sold their animals, cows, pig, sheet, boat, act., they deposit the money into the hands of their so-called friends, manager or overseer, because of the cultural difficulties they encounter going to the banks. It so happened that "Tug" wanted some money to repair his house, the then went to "Talbert" and requested the appropriate sum. Talbert, who must have used the money for his own purposes, denied Tug his rightful claim. Tug, further insisting the demand of his money, were severely beaten by Talbert.

He had to be satisfy with six "plannass" instead of the money.

About 1956 one Mrs. Clara Williams took work on the River Antoine estate, for almost twenty four years (24) she work loyal to the De Gales, suffering during this period the many inhumane injustices the management of the estate direct against the workers. Three months ago, she was given an unusual cutlassing day's work, she protested to management, but Talbert and Campbell insisted that she complete the task which was beyond her ability that was assigned to her, she refused, and informed the Agricultural and General Workers Union, bargaining agent for the River Antoine Estate. As usual, the union was late to confront management on the issue. And that gave Talbert the encouragement to continue suppressing her rights. She was refused work until she completed the "unusual task". For three days she remained home. Conscious of her "budget gap problem" she was forced against her will to take out her three children from school and carry on the estate and together work and complete the "unusual task." The following week the union representative finally arrived on the estate, acquainting himself with the question, he turned around and told the worker in the presence of Talbert of management that she had forfeited her case.

The workers were able to get the union to persuade management to erect a shed where they could be protected from the burning sun during the process labour - the cutting of coconuts. About five days after the erection of the shed Mrs. Alexander the sister of Jessie De Gale protest to management demanding that the galvanize of the shed be removed and place on their most cherished "GREAT HOUSE" where nobody except bats are living. And making the remarks . . . "they accustom working in the sun so there is no reason for providing them with a shed". Of course the De Gales do not care about the suffering of the workers, they do not care about the lives of the workers; their concern is profits, surplus value, what they can get from the labour of these poor workers, they do not consider the workers as human beings simply because they are not of the same class as the De Gale family. This is the main reason why their idea to build coffins for the workers even before they are dead was whole-heartedly welcome by the management and presently there are coffins with workers name inscribed on them, waiting patiently for when the De Gales family finally such like a vampire the last strength of the workers labour power.

Many workers especially those working in the rum factory are forced to work during unusual house, working overtime without pay. During the process of production of alcohol (River Antoine Strong Rum), the firemen are compelled to begin work at 3 a.m. in the morning, heating the liquor and usually go up to about 7 p.m. at nights. A day wage of $8 is the only benefit they receive from the usual $6 when they are not working in the factory. Those workers have complained time and time again to management and the union but without no avail. There are cases where other workers (skill workers) working in the rum factory doing overtime and receiving only $8 for those never ending hours of work. One cannot over-emphasise the openly serious dangers the workers have to cope with operating the same harsh and primitive methods and instruments of production ever since slavery that are still used on the estate. Workers have to take "massanto" and travel over fifty yards under-ground and work on the "copper' for hours under the most unsanitary conditions of pollution. There are many workers who have suffered damage on the job and although they are paying money for insurance for almost twenty years, are still, up to this day have not receive one cent insurance money for damages they have suffered. Many workers were grind in the mill over the years, some have lost hands, fingers, etc. But have never received a cent as insurance money.

The difficult days task coupled with the starvation wages the workers received from the De Gales are accountable for the moral and physical pain they suffered in their life time experience, and even today there are still workers with parasitic diseases eating through their flesh struggling to complete the day's work for $6. Most of them have expressed their desire to retire but are scared at the $3 a week pension given to them, who have worked there for over forty and fifty years.

Comrades, you now realize the reason why the ruling, exploiting and oppressing class can honour a man a hero called him "Sir" . . . etc. for risking his life for one day in a battle, but blindly refuse to honour the workers who are working under difficult conditions for more than fifty years, risking his life every year, every month, every day, every hour, every minute, every second aren't they heroes too? This comrades is the reason why the working class must be the Vanguard of society and is destined to write the revolutionary history of our time. The workers know what work is, what sacrifice is, what discipline is. This sacrifice and discipline were imposed on them by life itself, by the need to live under the most difficult, the most incredible conditions, under the most criminal exploitation. This is why class consciousness and revolutionary spirit developed quickly among the workers.

  1. The Right To Work and Security:-

    All workers have a fundamental right to obtain job opportunities from the political society; to freely choose whatsoever job he or she wishes. If a manager arbitrarily lays off a worker, he is obliged to reincoperate (sic) or to pay the worker his or her corresponding wage until the retirement age. The worker has the right of not being discriminated against in the job because of trade union membership or for ideological or political motives. The worker has the right to defend his job, to keep his job in case of an administrative re-organization in the enterprise and right of the workers organisation to participate in the re-organization if need be. The workers have the right to be represented by their legitimate and democratically elected representatives in a joint committee which will consider any proposal of sanction and or lay off by the managers.

  2. The Right To a Fair Payment and to its Protection

    The worker has the right to a vital and progressive wage scale which would guarantee to the worker his basic needs (food, clothing, housing, education, culture and entertainment); the right to income security in any aspect and to protest against the provisions which violate the right, the right to call for the fulfillment of the legal principle: equal pay for equal work; the right to a limited human and rational workday as well as to paid vacations the right to negotiate the working conditions through collective bargaining.

  3. The Right to the Social and Industrial Security

    The right to compulsory social security' to have a free access to the basic material and spiritual goods of the society, of civilization; to the full industrial security with the possibility for the workers representatives to stop the work when security norms are not respected; the right to integral economic assistance of the family in case of unemployment, illness, injury, infirmity, widowhood and old age; the right to be protected against environmental pollution; to call for hygine (sic) and anti-pollution provisions inside the work places; the right to a housing near the work place or right to have the transport time considered as work time.

  4. The Right of the Workers Organisations

    The worker have the right to join a trade union of his choice; to set up or administrate institutions for social assistance; to organise and promote the setting up of co-operatives in the fields of production, consumption, credit, and housing as well as financial institutions belonging to the workers; to promote the formation and culture of the members through activities such as liberies (sic), conferences, publications, technical and trade union schools, workshops and exhibitions; the right to organise any service aim at soundly entertaining, preserving health and improving the moral and material level of the workers.

  5. The Right to Participate

    Workers have the right to democratically elect their representative in the enterprise, without any limitations; to participate at all levels in the decisions related to the future of the enterprise, the execution of the work and the orientation and programming of the production; to participate in the decisions taken at the direction level of the enterprise; the right to have access, without any restriction, to all book-keeping, administrative and financial information on the enterprise; the right of the workers organizations to participate in an active and deliberate way in the state bodies responsible for labour, social security and professional training matters.

  6. The Right to Information, Formation and Culture

    The workers have the right to have access to the original sources of information in the same way as those who administrate and govern, in order to exercise the same influence on its public and social orientations to receive the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to process the information; the right of the workers organization to actively and deliberately participate in all bodies and institutions which control the mass media; to obtain place and time for information in the work places; the right to an education which contribute to the full development of the human being;

  7. Specific Right of the Retired Worker

    The right to automatically receive the corresponding benefits when reaching the age of retirement; to receive a payment similar to that received during the period of activity and which would allow the retired worker to meet his basic needs: food, clothing, housing, health, culture and entertainment, the right to carry out works according to the physical capacities and provide that they do not complete with the active workers; to use the social services of the trade unions; to continue as members of a trade union and to participate in the direction of the workers organisation; the right to urge from the state the putting in force of integral system of assistance and defence of the aged persons.

Finally the most important right of the workers is the right to STRIKE and to other pressure that the workers consider necessary for the defence of their interests.


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