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Saturday 20 January 2018
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Offensive demand by union leader

THE EDITOR: It is unimaginable that a trade union leader is demanding that nurses and doctors be paid four times more than their normal wage for treating Ebola victims. We can understand maximum life insurance, but the logic of increased wages when doing one’s job rubs us the wrong way.

Are they implying that the price of a beer should be jacked up four times at Carnival time? That the police should demand jacked up wages when responding to hot spot areas? That firemen be paid more when responding to a fire? That taxis quadruple their fares if they transport minorities?

Doctors and nurses, firemen and protective officers, Customs and military personnel chose their life work and must be committed to the public welfare, whether there is danger or not. That is their job.

Demanding jacked up wages at times of an imminent threat is unscrupulous, unpatriotic and offensive. Instead of blackmailing the public welfare, should a good union leader not instead be working arm in arm with the stakeholders to secure the adequacy of incubation and isolation facilities, waste disposal of contaminated waste protocols and facilities, ensuring the availability of sufficient protective gear, critical issues of national food supply and security, procuring reliable utility maintenance and protective services response staff, securing the provision of transportation for caregivers and a host of other safety, security and emergency response infrastructure and capacities that this virus will certainly exhaust?

The days of “bread and butter unionism” have expired. All of the public depend on progressive unionism for an uplifted society, not just for its members.

Whether our nation suffers a gas fireball disaster on J’ouvert morning, or an Ebola “plague” on Christmas Eve, should our Government and our responsible trade union representatives not be working side by side to ensure the safe passage of our country? What about legislation to command public servants to work at times of an emergency, regardless of danger or festivities? Imagine firemen staying home because they “fraid powder”?

Gary Aboud

Corporate secretary,

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea

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