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International Workers’ Day (May Day) 2012 takes place in a very crucial period. This is a period witnessing the continuing serious crisis of international monopoly finance capital- brought on by capitalist greed. Even as we speak the United Kingdom has re-entered recession.


In the region, we see workers and their Trade Unions confronting factory closures: closure of hotels and falling occupancy rates. In Trinidad there is the ongoing TCL workers’ struggle led by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) for better benefits. We see the readiness of the state to using its coercive machinery to help defend and preserve the old order.

The closure of two (2) major hotels in Barbados must be caused for further concern as the ranks of the unemployed continue to rise.

In Grenada there was the recent struggle of the Grenada Breweries Workers who were Locked Out by the ANSA McAl Group of Companies for over sixty-five (65) days.

If ever there was a time for increased regional and international Trade Union and Workers Solidarity is now.

We must demand of our Governments that they pass the necessary laws to protect workers against the Trans-national companies. We must call upon the regional Governments to implement the principles of the ILO Decent Work Agenda. The Governments must focus on creating Jobs; Guaranteeing Rights at work; Extending Social protection and Promoting Social dialogue!

The Caribbean Congress of Labour shall continue to give regional leadership as we shoulder the responsibility to defend the rights and benefits of the working class. The Caribbean Labour Movement must find the necessary ways and means of working together. The regional movement must become one movement. The challenge is to build a Trans -regional movement on consolidated and unified local structures- Trade Union consolidation is an imperative of our time. There is an ever increasing need for more regional solidarity. What affects workers and their Unions in one country must be addressed with a regional voice.

The vision of our founding fathers must never be lost! We must forever continue to steadfastly lead the charge for the improvement in the Social, Economic and Political life of regional workers. We must ensure that the material benefits – the wealth created by our workers – be more evenly distributed to everyone. The gap between the “have and have not” must be reduced!

Lets us continue to rededicate and recommit ourselves to the noble duty of “Defending and Advancing the Rights of Workers!”

Long Live Caribbean workers Solidarity!!

Long Live the Caribbean Congress of Labour!!

Long Live the Working Class!!


Chester A. A. Humphrey,

General Secretary

Caribbean Congress of Labour.