According to the Industrial Relations Act, Chapter 88:01, every worker shall have the right to be a member of any trade union or any number of trade unions of his or her choice and the right not to be a member of any trade union or other organization of workers.
Honorary President Basdeo Panday
Current President General Nirvan Maharaj
ADRIAN COLA RIENZI
Adrian Cola Rienzi born Krishna Deonarine played an important role in the development of Trinidad and Tobago in the twentieth century. History suggests that he had changed his name in order to have access to social mobility as in the late 1930's a Hindu name was a means of personal derogation and a possible denial of ones legitimate privileges. In 1930 Rienzi, after being schooled at the Naparima College left for Britain where he entered the University of Dublin. During this period he obtained his law degree and was also heavily involved anti-imperialist activities. He was also involved in the movement towards Indian independence and the Negro Welfare Association in Britain. When he returned to Trinidad in 1934, he became involved in the Trinidad Working Men Association. He established the Trinidad Citizens League and began to agitate toward socio- economic change for the masses. When he became involved in the Working Men Association, the labour movement was in chaos and he quickly pounced on the lack of leadership to further the aspirations of the working class. He called for an immediate end to repression against workers, the establishment of a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the grievances of the oil workers and for the formation of Unions to represent the oil and sugar workers. By November the OWTU and the All Trinidad Sugar and Factories Workers Trade Union were registered with Rienzi as their President. Rienzi erected a solid foundation for All Trinidad to prosper as he was able to establish branches and strike committees at the various sugar estates. It was a successful organization of workers from the lowest level on the estates. He persistently called for welfare legislation, opposed anti-labour laws and launched the Vanguard Newspaper to provide a voice for the working class. The Rienzi era was symbolized by the watchwords "Organise, Centralise and Revolutionise". He was the pioneer whose basic philosophy was the transference of political and economic power into the hands of the working class. On 31st August 2012 , Adrian Cola Rienzi was awarded the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago's Highest Honour : the Order of Trinidad and Tobago , posthumously .
BHADASE SAGAN MARAJ
Bhadase Sagan Maraj was born in 1920 in Caroni, a village whose inhabitants were predominantly of East Indian descent. He attended the Caroni Canadian Mission School and the Pamphillian High School in Tunapuna. By 1950 Bhadase's interest had turned to larger causes and issues that took him into national politics. He won an election for the Tunapuna seat that same year. Bhadase's most successful years were the decade of the fifties, a period when he emerged as a powerful Hindu leader in all fields - politics, labour, religion and education.
When Maraj became involved in the Union, there existed two rival bodies fighting for leadership; All Trinidad and the Sugar Industry Labour Union. Out of Maraj's conciliatory efforts a Federation of Unions of Sugar Workers and Cane Farmers was established with Maraj as the President. He successfully negotiated recognition for the entire sugar industry from the Sugar Manufacturer's Association in 1954 and later an increase in wages for all sugar workers. By 1957 he was able to realize one Union in the sugar industry. By this time, Bhadase has become very influential in the East Indian community firmly in cntrol of both their religious and secular institutions.
Bhadase Maraj commanded unique leadership qualities, something that is sometimes attributed to his supportive parents and his early involvement in Community and Religious affairs. Many found disfavour with his dictatorial style of leadership but history records that he was able to manage stability within the rank and file of the Union's membership at a time when the movement was in disarray and decline.
Basdeo Panday was born in the rural village of St. Julien in 1933. He was schooled at the New Grant Government, St. Benedicts College and later the Holborn School of Law and City University in England. When Panday returned to Trinidad following his studies, he performed a stint as legal advisor to the OWTU, and was later asked by Rampartap Singh (then General Secretary) to lead the Union out of the leadership crisis when Bhadase Maraj died in 1971. Panday, an Attorney at Law then abandoned an opportunity to further his academic development to champion the cause of the working class. He had received a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D at the Delhi School of Economics in India. Panday had little option but to forge a closer link with the membership of the Union when he accepted the leadership position. He quickly realized that a greater level of democracy had to be encouraged to instill patriotism within the Union. He began to introduce democratic elections throughout the Union. He knew that he had to bring the working class together and to do this he started by meeting with all the workers and by establishing working committees and delegations. He then began to work towards securing a higher standard of living for workers and towards ensuring guaranteed work. He knew that he could lift the self-esteem of the sugar workers through better working conditions. Under his leadership, the membership of the Union doubled to include persons in the food, processing, garment, catering, construction and travel industries. The name All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union evolved to reflect this new organization. Bro. Panday eventually led the Union until 1995 when in his capacity as leader of the United National Congress, he was able to form the Government and was appointed Prime Minister of the Republic. He was subsequently named an Honorary President because of the invaluable contribution he had made to its development. He continues to play an important role in the Union, and is forever willing to offer assistance and advice.
BOYSIE MORE JONES
When Basdeo Panday had to give up the leadership of the Union to run the affairs of State, there was an immediate need to fill the vacuum. That was when Boysie More Jones emerged as President General. Generally a quiet and unassuming personality, Jones had been involved with the Union since his days as an employee of the company since early in the 1950's. In 1978 he was recruited as a Grievance Officer by the then President General, Basdeo Panday after serving successfully as President of his Branch. Bro. Jones became head of the Department of Industrial Relations in 1983 and later in 1985 he was elected to the position of Second Vice President. Bro. Jones became very familiar with the leadership position since when Bro. Panday had to perform the functions of the Leader of the Opposition, he was called upon to fulfill the role of leader of the Union. It was during this period that he tested his leadership skills. When Panday became the Prime Minister in 1995, Jones acted as the President General. In 1998, after a fierce battle for leadership, Jones emerged as the Leader of the Union and secured a mandate to take the Union forward for the next three years. In the year 2001, Jones who had turned 65 decided to inject new participation and to give way at the leadership level. Today he sits in an advisory capacity at All Trinidad lending advice and recalling battles of yesteryear.