Lum Kin: TTUTA will remain apolitical

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

TUTTA president Martin Lum Kin – File photo

TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Martin Lum Kin says the union will continue to maintain an apolitical stance and work with the government, regardless of what party is in power.

Lum Kin was responding to questions from Newsday after Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) president Ancel Roget said on Labour Day that the majority of the labour movement would be meeting in the coming weeks with political parties opposed to the PNM, including the Opposition UNC.

He said, “In the coming weeks, with the exception of TTUTA and any other paid political trade unions, with the exception of them, we in the trade union movement have agreed to meet all opposing forces and all political parties, including the UNC.”

Lum Kin said since its inception TTUTA had stayed away from party politics and supporting any political party.

“We are of the opinion, it’s a principled stance that TTUTA is willing to work with any government of the Republic of TT, no matter which party is in power.

“We will negotiate, we will work with the government and any minister that is willing to work with us in improving the education system, in the cause of education, and in national development. TTUTA will continue to have that stance until the association, through its general council says differently.”

He said TTUTA gave its members the freedom to support any political party they believed would be in the best interests of the country.

Lum Kin said while TTUTA had always promoted unity in the trade union movement, it did not agree with JTUM on the issue.

“We believe a strong umbrella body would ensure that the rights of workers are sought and it will benefit the nation to have a strong and unified trade union movement. It’s not that we don’t support JTUM, but as with all organisations, there will be issues on which parties will not be in agreement and this is one such.”

Asked why the unions did not come together to form a political party of their own, Lum Kin said within the political arena, the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) is the labour political party.

“As such the MSJ would naturally be the choice for labour unions. I know in the past JTUM would have supported and promoted the MSJ. At this time, I can only speculate as to why they are not promoting the MSJ and instead are looking at one of the two major political parties in TT.”