Politics in the Caribbean

Topics: Trade union, Jamaica, Jamaica Labour Party Pages: 92 (32601 words) Published: March 19, 2012
: Discuss the connection between political parties and trade unions in Jamaica and one other Caribbean country, showing areas of similarity and difference. A Political Party is a political organization that normally seeks to influence government and government policy, this is done by nominating their own candidates, trying to seat them in political office. Parties often express an ideology or vision of specific views and participate in electoral campaigns and protest actions. The emergence of trade unions, political parties and leading personalities. With the socioeconomic problems of the 1930s, it came as no surprise that there was widespread labour unrest. Below is a summary of the disturbance that occurred throughout the 1930s. In 1937, riots in Barbados began because of Clement Payne (Trinidadian). He told the people that they were being oppressed because of their race and he urged them to organise themselves into unions. Payne kept several meetings in Bridgetown and other parts of the island. The authorities decided to put a stop to these developments by deporting Payne on the grounds that he had given false information to immigration officers when he entered the island (Barbados). Payne had declared that he was a Barbadian. The authorities said he was Trinidadian. The truth is that Payne had been born in Trinidad of Barbadian parents. Grantley Adams appealed against the deportation, which still went ahead. Riots broke out in Bridgetown and on sugar estates, automobiles were pushed into the sea, stores were ransacked and the police volunteers killed 14 and wounded 47 of the rioters. Grantley Adams emerged as labour leader and the Barbados Progressive League was formed. Trade union laws were also passed.

Labour unrest in Jamaica began in 1937 as well, when a demonstration of unemployed workers and ex-servicemen in Kingston was broken up by the police using batons. Then, in January 1938, violence erupted at the Frome Sugar Factory owned by Tate and Lyle, and when strikers attacked the estates officials, the police opened fire killing four and wounding nine. The disorder spread to the Kingston waterfront where a general strike was called. Mobs paraded the streets attacking shops and cars and the police again used force and eight persons were killed, 171 wounded and over 700 arrested. The leading labour figure in the Jamaican riots was Alexander Bustamante. These waves of riots and strikes causing death and injury to so many attracted worldwide attention. Consequences of the disturbance

The following can be regarded as the most important consequences of the disturbances of the 1930s. a) Mass political parties were formed, designed in conjunction with trade unions to press for political, social and economic advancement. Examples of these were the People's National Party under Norman Manley in Jamaica and the Barbados Progressive League under Grantley Adams in Barbados. b) The labour unrest led to the formation of trade unions to enable concerted action among workers to achieve higher wage and better conditions of work. One must remember that trade unions were not recognised in many territories before 1930. This meant they did not have much power to protect the interest and improve the working conditions of workers. Within five years after the riots, there were 58 registered trade unions with a total membership of 65,000 workers in the West Indies. Some of the many benefits brought about by the formation of trade unions were: * Sick leave

* Pension schemes
* Minimum wage law
* Workmen's compensation
* Holidays with pay
* Redundancy pay
Examples of Trade Unions
1. British Guiana Labour Union - 21st July, 1922
2. Trinidad Oilfield Workers Trade Union - 15th September, 1937 3. Jamaica Hotel Employees Association - 1st December, 1937
4. Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) - 23rd January, 1939 5. Barbados Workers' Union - 4th October, 1941
6. Dominica Trade Union - 31st December, 1945...
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