By Sue-Ann Wayow
LONGSTANDING trade unionist and former government senator Selwyn John has died.
He passed away at his home in Santa Cruz around 5 pm on Tuesday.
John who was over 80 years, has been a trade unionist for more than five decades. He was the president general of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW) up until the time of his retirement in 2000.
John who served in Parliament under the first United National Congress (UNC) administration was also the first general secretary of the National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (NATUC) and the recipient of a national award.
In remembering him on Wednesday, NUGFW’s second deputy President-General Clifton Simpson said he was eternally grateful to him for his assistance and influence.
Simpson said, “He would have stepped on a lot of corns but he have made a lot of friends and allies along the way. That aspect of his character earned him the respect he got nationally, regionally and internationally. He was an astute politician and would have assisted a number of persons in earning careers outside of the trade union. He played an integral role in different people’s lives over the years including mine.”
John developed strong relationships with employers and employees and was at the forefront with workers during the recession on the 1980s and Simpson made mention that John was one of the first trade unionists to have the attention of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund while lobbying on behalf of workers.
Jillian Bartlett-Alleyne told AZPNews.com, “He was one of the greatest trade unionist. I was fortunate that he recruited me into NUGFW as a labour relations officer and I moved up the ranks to become the general secretary and appointed to the Industrial Court. There will never be another Selwyn John.”