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'Unions, return home to Natuc'

By Renuka Singh

Newly elected president of the National Trade Union Centre (Natuc) Government Senator James Lambert yesterday called on trade unions to remove themselves from the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) and "return home" to Natuc. Lambert has been a part of the JTUM, which is lead by Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) president-general Ancel Roget, prior to becoming a Government Senator in June.

"Natuc joined the JTUM for the purpose of the five per cent. Most of the five per cent is resolved, most of negotiations are concluded. There is no reason to continue," Lambert said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Lambert said he was "extending an open door" to the all the trade unions that have joined forces with the JTUM.

When asked about and condemnation from his former comrades, Lambert said, "Roget could say what he wants, he is always making unconfronted statements." He added, "Roget has lost his way."

Roget turned the issue back to Lambert and questioned his true motives. "At a time when employers are uniting to exploit workers, here you have a trade union leader who is seeking disunity.

"We need to ask who stands to benefit from a fragmented trade union movement, and only the Government and employers do," Roget said in telephone interview yesterday.

Roget said Lambert had proven to be a "sell out, backward, retrograde, eat ah food" trade unionist bent on "repaying massa" for his senatorship.

"The Government has obviously recognised the strength of JTUM and has sent one of their agents to attempt to destabilise it. They believe that the JTUM is going to join forces with the PNM (People's National Movement) and they are doing their damnedest to try and mash it up," he said.

"I think the Minister of Labour was correct in his initial assessment of the man," he said. At the height of an public outburst, Lambert called for Minister McLeod's removal and McLeod had then retorted that Lambert was a "complete and irrevocable fool".

Roget said the issue would be discussed at next Tuesday's JTUM meeting and Lambert said he will call a national executive meeting next week to discuss the issue as well.

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