Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget yesterday professed nothing but love for his predesscor and former Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader, current Labour Minister Errol McLeod.
Roget, feature speaker at the Labour Day celebrations at Fyzabad Junction, said while it was a "pity" McLeod did not leave the Government when the MSJ did, he was still dear to the party.
"Even though we wanted you to leave with us, we still have love for you, brother," Roget said, but warned McLeod to "never bow down to this Government".
But while McLeod was spared the trade unions' ire, Roget blazed Works Minister Jack Warner for pushing the Debe/Mon Desir section of the proposed highway route and an unnamed minister for profiteering from lucrative contracts for that project.
"There is one Minister whose brother is set to benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation of quarry contracts," he said.
Roget also made accusations about another unnamed minister for using political clout to "doctor" a police report after he was charged with using "annoying language".
"The MSJ is the only party to put country first," he said referring to the MSJ's decision on Sunday to walk away from the ruling People's Partnership.
He said he did not see what was "reckless" in MSJ leader David Abdulah's demands and questioned whether Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar read the ten-item pro-labour demands with a "sober mind".
Roget, like several other trade union leaders, referred to Abdulah as the next prime minister of the country, but warned that the UNC was already "planning to steal the next elections".
"Instead of planting plants they planting houses," he said.
This he likened to the People's National Movement (PNM) regime.
"Two years ago the UNC came to the people of Trinidad and Tobago through a Partnership arrangement with the promises of change. But what we have experienced is nothing short of plain and simple betrayal," he said.
Roget said breaking that social contract was a "desecration".
"To have broken a contract which was signed on grounds made sacred by the blood of our foreparents. This is a reprehensible and unpardonable sin," he said.
"They must pay the ultimate price for that. They must pay and they will pay," he said.
"Where all the partners to the Accord would have been treated equally and with respect. So when they broke the Fyzabad Accord, they broke the social contract with the people of Trinidad and Tobago, when they broke the manifesto promise, of putting workers at the centre of our country's development, they broke the social contract with the workers of Trinidad and Tobago," he said.
Roget said the workers were today facing the same fundamental issues that their forefathers faced 75 years ago and described it as a "class war".
"Senior executives and managers of State enterprises earning from $75,000 to $125,000 per month. Even as those State enterprises continue to record sharp decrease in their performance," he said, but did not reveal which companies.
"This, comrades, is class war...you see it is okay for lawyers, chief executive officers and managers of State enterprises to rake in tens of thousands of dollars per day for doing precious little, whilst the majority of workers who produce the wealth of the country struggle to make ends meet, earning just over three to five thousand dollars per month," he said.
"Clearly this is not equity," he said.
"I want to remind you, that recently we had to fight to save a cornerstone in our democracy, and that is the right to free and fair collective bargaining," Roget said.
He said the labour movement would never forgive the Government for the imposition of the five per cent cap or the State of Emergency that he said was called solely to hinder the growing strength of the collective trade union movement.
"This State of Emergency failed miserably, Why? Because it was never against crime, it was against us workers who were only fighting for our just due.
If we are to be honest, today crime is even worse than ever before, with the gruesome murders continuing unabated," Roget said.
"Can you imagine? In May 2010 they said they would put workers in the centre of the country's development and by August 2011 they called a State of Emergency against the same ordinary workers and the people," he said.
"Whilst in opposition they politicise crime and now while in Government they have absolutely no clue.
"Their friends and financiers in the business community are so hypocritical that they are yet to confess the incredible loss to the economy. The economy literally came to a standstill for three months," he said.
Roget called on the trade union members to "call out" their fellow comrades who were "selling out".
"You have to name them and point them out," he said.