Just two days after Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah announced his resignation from the People's Partnership Government, the trade union movement has already tipped him to be the next prime minister.
While several speakers praised Abdulah's move at yesterday's Labour Day celebrations, it was Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) leader Vincent Cabrera who called Abdulah before the cheering crowd and presented him as the country's next prime minister.
"David, comrade Abdulah, cause I find they calling you David too much," Cabrera said as he urged Abdulah to stand next to him on the podium at Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad.
"I want to say here comrades that we are looking at the next prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago," he said, raising Abdulah's hand to loud applause.
Cabrera detailed the list of problems his own union was facing, including the stalled negotiations with companies in the financial and educational sector, and called on a informal "alliance" to further the cause of workers in both sectors.
"I am today proposing that we forge an alliance, between the workers of UWI (University of the West Indies), UTT (University of Trinidad and Tobago) and Cipriani (Labour College) and begin to hot up the place," he said.
"We intend to camp in front of the office of the Prime Minister to bring this to her attention," Cabrera said, adding that teachers at Cipriani were paid less than staff at UWI and UTT.
"I wish to assure the workers at Cipriani Labour College that your trade union leaders are prepared to walk the extra mile and we shall do all in our power, arm in arm with the workers, to ensure that the struggle for decent wages and the struggle for tertiary labour education is won," he said.
He said within the financial sector he was facing challenges with the Eastern Credit Union and Republic Bank Ltd.
"We intend to lead a massive march against the Eastern Credit Union, consisting of workers from members of the joint trade union movement."
Cabrera said the credit union movement grew out of the trade union movement and while he would never seek to undermine a credit union, many of the people managing credit unions were "deliberately hostile" towards the trade union movement.
"If we have no choice we will withdraw our labour. The voice of workers at Eastern will not be stifled and we shall resist every attempt at worker victimisation," he said.
He said Republic Bank earned millions in annual profits and could easily afford to pay a hundred per cent increase to workers and still remain profitable.
"There is an epic struggle unfolding where over 2,500 workers have been engaged in collective bargaining with their employer," he said.
Cabrera's BIGWU contingent this year outnumbered almost every other union group and even current Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-governmental Organisations (FITUN) leader Joseph Remy joked that this was the first year Cabrera's following outnumbered the blue shirts of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) at the Labour Day march.