The Employers’ Consultative Association (ECA) of Trinidad and Tobago wishes to extend warm greetings to all stakeholders in the Labour Movement and by extension, the nation of Trinidad and Tobago on the occasion of Labour Day. As a premier Employers Organisation, the ECA is heartened to see the strides that we have made as a country, despite numerous hurdles.
The fact that we can engage in open celebrations to commemorate the struggles of our forefathers who fought to secure the rights and privileges that many of our workers enjoy today speaks volumes of the progress made thus far. Furthermore, this day allows us to reflect on and recognise the vast potential that this nation can aspire to when we unite as a people.
However, these celebrations are being held at a time in our country where the industrial relations climate can be described as adversarial and volatile, significantly compounded by the weight of continued economic uncertainty and obvious signs of deteriorating trust and mutual respect amongst social partners. This is indeed unfortunate.
Several years ago, the ECA would have articulated its position that extremism, in various forms, continue to stand as an obstacle to partners in the Tripartite Social Dialogue process, a system which the ECA believes can yield meaningful results. However, this requires a paradigm shift by all stakeholders to truly commit to moving beyond adversarial bargaining to a truly participatory and collaborative approach to solving the many problems that exist in this great nation. The time has come for all of us as leaders of institutions, civil society, leaders and citizens of our beloved nation to shift our focus from the short and medium term and look to the long term well-being of our society and nation, lest we risk leaving a system of chaos for our children and grandchildren. Let us rebuild the trust in our institutions, instil the moral and spiritual values that seemed to have evaded us and work together to build a path to long-term growth and sustainability. There is no time to lay blame as our window of opportunity is closing as surely as tomorrow will come.
The ECA believes that the best is yet to come and therefore stands ready to contribute in this regard with a commitment to working with all stakeholders to generate new ideas and fresh approaches rebuild, reshape and reenergise our reality. For according to Peter Drucker, a respected educator, writer and management expert,
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence- it is to act with yesterday’s logic”.