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Trades Union Congress elects new President

Leslie Gonsalves

Long serving trade unionist, Leslie Gonsalves has been elected President of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), the parliamentary opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) announced.

The announcement was made in a congratulatory statement to Gonsalves who is also the President of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU).  He succeeds Norris Witter who has declined to run for that office again.

Gonsalves was elected on October  31 at the GTUC’s Triennial Congress. He previously served as the GTUC’s Organising Secretary and Vice President

The congratulatory note is being regarded as somewhat of a fence-mending between the GTUC and APNU whose chairman was  earlier this week heavily criticized by the union body’s General Secretary, Lincoln Lewis for not tying passage of amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) to the establishment of the constitutionally required Public Procurement Commission (PPC).

APNU said that regarding Gonsalves’ plans for the future, the new President of the GTUC said that the confederation had a meeting at Lake Mainstay and a comprehensive document on the way forward was produced.

Mr. Gonsalves said that he intends to follow the guidelines adopted at the Mainstay meeting, according to APNU.

The GTUC has historically enjoyed very close relations with the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), a major player in APNU.

GTUC is not as strong as it had been at least a decade ago. Major affiliates like the National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees and the Guyana Labour Union have broken away  to join the government-friendly Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG).

At the same time, the Guyana Public Service Union and Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) have not been active in the GTUC.