Friday, August 19, 2011

Congratulations to N.U.D.E.

15, August 2011

Ms Ida Le Blanc,
National Union of Domestic Employees ( NUDE),
Wattley Trace,
Mt Pleasant Road,
Trinidad and Tobago.

Dear Ida,

I write on behalf of CAFRA (Trinidad and Tobago) and CAFRA members throughout the region to congratulate you and all domestic workers on the achievement of the Domestic Worker Convention adopted at the 100th International Labour Conference on June 16, 2011. We can only agree with the ILO's Director-General, Juan Somavia, when he called it a historic moment for domestic workers worldwide. As a delegate to this conference you were there to be part of this important milestone.

Congratulations are due because this victory is the result of the hard and sustained work of the late Clotil Walcott, visionary leader of the National Union of Domestic employees who with her colleagues James Lynch and Salisha Ali founded this organisation in 1982. Clotil’s legacy was ably continued by you Ida and other members of NUDE both locally and internationally in the cause of improving the working conditions of domestic workers.

In these efforts supported by the local women’s movement, special mention must be made of Ms Constance Thomas, who during her tenure at the regional office on the ILO in Trinidad and Tobago became a friend of the workers of the region and in particular took up the case of decent work for domestic workers as part of her personal agenda.

Today as we celebrate this historic occasion and remember all those who are no longer with us we are reminded that progress, though hard and sometimes daunting, with the right strategy and commitment will be achieved in the end.

While this is the end of a long struggle it is also the beginning of a new era. We hope that using this convention, conditions for domestic workers can be improved in Trinidad and Tobago and the region more generally and that finally as Clotil demanded during her lifetime, domestic workers (or household assistants as they are named in the Industrial Relations Act) will be officially defined as workers.

We appreciate the effort made over the years to improve the conditions of work of these predominantly women workers, performing work that is necessary but often undervalued and unappreciated, and wish NUDE every success in the future.

In sisterhood,

Tara Ramoutar,
National Representative,
CAFRA – Trinidad and Tobago

Copies to:
Ms Flavia Cherry – Interim Chair, CAFRA
All members Regional Committee CAFRA
The News Editor – Trinidad Express
Trinidad Guardian
Trinidad Newsday
One Caribbean Media
Power 102.1 FM
I.95.5 fm
103.1 fm
Minister of Labour, Honourable Errol McLeod
Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development – Honourable Verna St. Rose Greaves
Ms Hazel Brown – Envoy for Women c/o NGO Network
Ms. Brenda Gopeesingh - Envoy for Women
Ms Roberta Clarke - UNWOMAN

Friday, May 8, 2009

Late Nigerian Activist's Son to See Shell in Court

Oil firm faces trial amid accusations of complicity in human rights abuses.

New York - Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. has been fighting for more than 13 years to make his late father's prediction come true.

It will happen this month when relatives of victims of the Nigerian government's violent crackdown on residents of the oil-rich region, where Royal Dutch Shell had drilling operations, will get to challenge the deaths and injuries in a U.S. court.

The trial that starts May 26 in U.S. District Court in New York stems from two lawsuits accusing Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and the former managing director of its Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Transport and Trading PLC, of being complicit in decisions by Nigeria's then-military government to hang oil industry opponents, including playwright and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

"In a sense we already have a victory, because one of the things my father said was that Shell would one day have its day in court," Saro-Wiwa said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. "We felt they had ducked their responsibility for what happened in Nigeria, so we wanted to fulfill that prediction."

CLICK HERE to read full story

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From East Trinidad


Ria Sinanan worked as a Domestic Worker for a family in the East of Trinidad, she is twenty eight (28) years old and started employment with the employer in June, 1998 until she was dismissed on 7th April, 2009.

She reported to the Union that she was told to go on the roof of the employer`s house to show a workman, who came to repair the roof, where the leaks were. She said she did as she was told and when she left the roof and was climbing down the ladder, the ladder slipped and she fell off the roof and broke her hand. She said it was a rainy day and the ladder was a folding ladder. The employer never investigated as to what caused the ladder to slip. The worker said it was because of the rain.
However, the worker said the employer came outside and saw her on the ground after she started calling for help. The employer then went inside and called her mother on the telephone and told her that her daughter had an accident and she should come and take her to the hospital.

Her mother Margaret Sinanan said when she arrived the ambulance was already there apparently waiting for her and she said she alighted the ambulance immediately and accompanied her daughter to the Hospital.
The worker was examined at the Sangre Grande Hospital and was then referred to the Port of Spain General Hospital (approximately 30 miles away) to be attended to. She was examined and her hand put in cast.

Her mother Margaret said she took up employment with the employer for three weeks while her daughter was nursing her broken hand but they had a disagreement and the employer told both Margaret and Ria to leave her House and do not come back.
Margaret said what caused the argument is that Ria came to the employer`s home where she was working and she asked her what she was doing there? Ria said she came to feed the dogs because the Madam had called her. Her mother Margaret then told the employer that Margaret`s Doctor said she should be resting the hand. But the employer insisted that Ria could still be at work to answer the door, open the gate and feed the dog.

The mother said she took up the job with Ria`s employer, and worked for three weeks and she was paid $50.00 per week. She said she took the job only because, she said “they will brainwash her and make her do things she should not be doing with her hand”. She also said she worked Monday to Saturday four hours per day.

Meanwhile they gave Ria $200 per week until they dismissed she and her mother three weeks after the accident. She was not qualified to receive injury benefits from the National Insurance Scheme because the employer had never registered her with the National Insurance nor did the employer pay any contributions on her behalf.
The worker was never given injury leave. She was deprived benefits under the National Insurance, and her injury caused her to be dismissed.

There is nowhere for this worker to seek redress. The Industrial Relations Act (IRA) deprives her of the right to recourse, because under the Act she is not regarded as a worker. Never the less she can seek redress with regards to violations of the Minimum Wages (Household Assistant Order) Act.

Ria worked:
Monday to Saturday from 7.00a.m. to 6.00p.m.
Sundays 8.00a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and she would return for 3.00p.m. to 5.00pm. for a weekly salary of $450.00.

She was not paid extra for working overtime, or for working on Public Holidays, she never received Vacation leave neither was she paid for it.


Monday, March 23, 2009

International Day of Actions for Rivers Be Free and Restore the Almighty River Indus! New Strategy for Struggle against Dams

International Day of Actions for Rivers
Be Free and Restore the Almighty River Indus!
New Strategy for Struggle against Dams offered by PFF

“People of Sindh may revise their present protest strategy against the dams.
Since a long, they have been struggling against the constructions of upcoming new dams on River Indus to be planned by the rulers but now they should raise the voice not only against the construction of new dams but instead, they also should struggle to break the present dams already constructed on upstream of entire Indus River System and get the confined Almighty Indus untied and restored its indigenous youthful flows and tides.” This surprising new strategy against the dams was loudly ratified by hundreds of men & women activists at the conclusion of colorful celebration of “International Day of Actions for Rivers” organized by Pakistan Fisher-Folk Forum held on 14th March in the middle of waterless and deserted sandy embrace of great River Indus near the venue of Al-Manzar Jamshoro downward of Kotri Barrage’s closed gates towards downstream.
PFF’s Chairperson Muhammad Ali Shah in his concluding speech at the occasion initiated that new and surprising offer of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum for people and civil society’s ongoing struggle against the construction of dams. Fishermen’s national social movement Pakistan Fisher-Folk Forum celebrated the day with gathering of hundreds of men & women fisher activists. A large number of notified water activists representing various civil society organizations also joined the Day. Muhammad Ali Shah said PFF’s new offer of struggle with which the constructed dams would be intended to break was supposed to be seen impossible in our country but it could surely be done and it was being done in all over the world and same should be done any how to restore the indigenous surged flows of Almighty Indus River. He said the movement for breaking the dams had been launching everywhere in the world including United States of America. Instead of their ongoing defensive position, people should come now in the offensive position, he added. Notified intellectuals Karamat Ali of PILER said at the occasion that people should join their struggle with the ongoing struggles of all the countries of South Asian region because their Indus comes and passing through more than one country. He said the rulers of only one country did not confine it but the rulers of India, Nepal and Pakistan jointly made it as hostage by construction of hundreds of dams and canals. The movement against dams was also carried on by the people of India, Nepal & Bhutan, he added. Prof. He emphasized that people of all over South Asia must be come together in that regard. Ali Arsalan, Sharafat Ali, Mustafa Baloch the Regional Manager SPO, Kashif Bajeer, Noor Muhammad Bajeer, water expert Nazir Memon, Tahira Ali Shah, SAWFCO chief Suleman Abro and all the presidents of PFF district units joined and addressed the ceremony.
The Chairperson of PFF called the participants to get the consensus by showing up their hands to put their pressure on the rulers for breaking one of the present dams. He asked: “What would be the first dam you want to break?” Thousands of hands were raised up to show their unanimous consensus for launching movement to break Tarbella Dam at first instance.
Before the commencement of conference, hundreds of men and women wearing multi-colored clothing jointly made a long zigzag human-chain across inside of the waterless river to demonstrate their solidarity, tribute and love with their beloved mother “Sindhu”, Almighty Indus.
After that women led by the leadership of Pakistan Fisher-Folk Forum including its Chairperson Muhammad Ali Shah put so many red roses in Sindhu to express their cheer of love and to give the assertion of sincerity and sacrifice.
In between the intervals of speeches during all over the event the various folk singers including Sodho Jogi, Moula Bux malah, Azad Mirwahi and Aziz Malah had been offering a number of folk songs and melodies bursting with devoted admiration of motherland; its beautiful rivers, mountains, forests, innocent people and soil’s natural panoramas. Songs were also filled with the cries of distresses of deprived natives & mobilizing messages and excitements for struggle. The youthful guys had passionately been thrilling & dancing on the stimulating rhythm of the folk music.
The end Saeed Baloch General Secretary thanks and closed conference.