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Reference is made to Seepaul Narine’s response to my letter that dealt with the cancellation of Certification of Recognition for Cyril Taxi Service by the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board. Refer to his letter “Is Lincoln Lewis anti-union?” in Village Voice, 27th February 2022. His letter raises serious doubts and suspicions not only about the conduct of the Board but members of the Board.
Let it be known, very clear, whereas his response is an attempt to mirror the tactics of the enslavers/colonisers to chastise the enslaved/colonised when they challenged injustices, I shall not allow myself to be chastised by anyone, as did my ancestors.
The fact I remain standing, from government to government, in defense of the universally acceptable principles I hold dear, is testimony that he too will not succeed in stilling my voice or trade union militancy. This matter belongs to the Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU), of which I am a part, and shall speak.
The issue before us is:
1. the Board has cancelled a Recognition Agreement between the GB&GWU and Cyril Taxi Service;
2. The Union received a letter from the Board about this decision;
3. The Union responded to the Board, via letter, asking to be shown the Section of Trade Union Recognition Act that gave them such authority;
4. The Board responded that the decision to cancel the Recognition was unanimous.
The question here is not whether the decision was unanimous or split, it is what Section of the Trade Union Recognition Act gave the Board the authority to cancel the Recognition. This is what the Board has not been able to answer.
Seepaul is a member of the Board and represents the interest of the Trade Union. What is most disheartening is that he considers himself an advocate for the workers and the trade union, but he was part and parcel and supported the decision to deny workers representation by the GB&GWU. This is what he must address, and the Union is prepared to pursue.
After the Board’s decision to deny GB&GWU recognition, the union of which Seepaul is from, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) became very active in the oil and gas sector to organise many of the workers. Cyril Taxi Service is contracted to the oil and gas sector, which made the GB&GWU the first union to achieve recognition for local workers in this sector.
Seepaul can tell the world whether he thinks I am a good or bad guy. That is his opinion, and I don’t care. Let him address the extant issue before him and don’t hide behind nonsense arguments. Further, he is reminded that I was at the forefront of the struggle with the bauxite unions (GB&GWU and the Guyana Mine Workers Union) that led to the non-payment of taxes on overtime and weekend pay that sugar workers continue to be the recipient of.
I, Lincoln Lewis, wrote the first Agreement for Redundancy Package in this country, where workers received six-weeks’ pay for each year of service to the maximum of two years pay, all being paid at the time of termination. This achievement remains unmatched. Not even GAWU has been able to achieve this although they tried.
Seepaul cannot tell me or the GB&GWU about performance. The records are there to show what we have done, and where the workers he represents have also benefitted. What he could tell me and the Union, which we have no interest in, is about setting up cells in other unions’ bargaining units to undermine them, and about undermining the right of workers to freedom of association.
Once again, he is reminded as a member of the Board, to show where in the Law the Board can cancel a Recognition Agreement. I look forward to the answer in his response.