In 1919, Hubert .N. Critchlow saw that the workers were not receiving enough money for themselves and their families. He decided to form a trade union to allow workers to have a say in improving their working conditions, increasing their pay,and having proper homes and medical attention. Many of them worked long hours and lived in cramped houses and others in a few rooms called logies.Most of them were very poor. He was the founder of the first trade union movement in British Guiana. He later became the father of trade unionism.
In 1946 a 29-year-old Dr Cheddi Jagan, moved by the horrifying conditions which existed at plantation Port Mourant and beyond decided to divert his dentistry practice to the task of the poor and suffering. He joined the M.P.C.A., then the sole bargaining agent in the sugar industry and rose to the position as its treasurer. He soon resigned as he was against company unionism. In 1947 he joined Dr J, P.Latchmansingh’s G.I.W.U. with a view to provide genuine representation.
The union was later renamed G.A.W.U.
Cuffy fought also for freedom. In 1763 the fight was long and many were killed. In 1834 Damon lead 300 apprentice slaves in a quiet and peaceful demonstration and was held in the Trinity Parish Church yard on the Essequibo Coast. The authorities arrested Damon and he was later hanged in Georgetown.
May Day, for some sections of the local labour force, especially public servants, has lost its importance and relevance to their daily battles and victories for better conditions of work and livihoods.The reasons are all evident– a lack of firm conviction and action by their trade unions.
Long live the workers!
Long live the working-class people of Guyana!
Long live the working-class people of the world!