Falmouth Port workers strike

JAMAÏCA – MAY 21,1935

In the 1930s, apart from the regional organisations established by the sugar manufacturers and the governing bodies of the sport of cricket, there was little or no inter-colony contact. There had been migration to Trinidad of workers from the smaller eastern Caribbean islands, particularly Grenada, for employment in the oil industry. There had also been migration from these islands and Barbados to Guyana. But apart from these migrations, the workers in each colony had remained isolated from their counterparts in the other colonies. The principal causes of working class unrest and dissatisfaction were the same throughout the region: low wages; high unemployment and under-employment; arrogant racist attitudes of the colonial administrators and employers in their relations with black workers; lack of adequate or in most cases any representation; and, no established structure for the resolution of industrial disputes by collective bargaining. Another factor increasing general distress and dissatisfaction regionally was the world economic crisis which had started in the USA in 1929 and by the early 1930s was having a residual effect internationally. The fact that the grievances caused by these factors existed in all these colonies explains why, despite the lack of inter-colony contacts, the labour rebellions of the 1930s were an inter-colony phenomenon, sweeping like a wave across the region. On 21 May there was a strike of port workers in the town of Falmouth in Trelawny. This also developed into a riot when the use of strike breakers was threatened and one worker was killed by police gunshot…(read more from source below).



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