For some reason my blog was on pause for the last year. I wish through this post to give it life again.
I am triggered by a souvenir photo that my good friend and brother-in-trade-union, Rajpalsingh Allgoo, MBE, MSK who was at that time president of the Artisans and General Workers Union, sent me yesterday. Somewhat hazy the photo has stood the test of time to remind me of the days brother Allgoo and myself were both involved in the struggle for workers’ rights along with late Chand Bhagirutty, (ex-president of the Mauritius Labour Congress – MLC) and late Abdool Hamid Malleck Amode OSK (ex-president of the Government Servants’ Association – GSA) and other contemporary prominent trade unionists with whom we had close working relationships. That was 30 years ago.
Me (right) presenting my project to Mr. Allgoo (left)
I could not recall when that photo was clicked, nor the theme of the occasion, until brother Allgoo refreshed my mind. I was presenting to him a copy of my project – The Role of Trade Unions in the Promotion of Health and Safety at the Workplace – which was a requirement for the successful completion of my Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health at the University of Mauritius.
Ongoing further education and development was imperative in the face of emerging challenges of the time. The world of work was undergoing significant transformation with the massive industrialization process and the enactment in 1988 of the new “consolidating, harmonizing and updating” law relating to occupational safety, health and welfare, proclaimed on 01 May 1989. The Act made occupational safety, health and welfare the concern of both employers and employees at all levels, not only those at factory level but also those at top management level. The employer was no longer solely responsible for all the acts of the employee. The latter also has a duty of care for self and others who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work. Not only that, the new legislation also established the framework for a more effective safety and health organization, promotion and performance with such provisions as relating to information, instruction, communication, training, supervision, monitoring and consultation.
The trade union movement was at crossroads. I took the plunge despite my numerous commitments. Believe me, juggling my part-time studies with my work, my union commitment, and looking after my elder prince and WordPress hosting champion Wasseem Khayrattee, in his crucial year of the CPE (Certificate of Primary Education) and my younger Sayyad joining the primary, was not something I could go without. Nor could I forego a coinciding short overseas fellowship in my career field, meteorology, in USSR. But the youthful exuberance of those days made no sacrifice too big.
Had it not been on the recommendation and insistence of late Satyen Ramdharry, my union colleague of the Government Servants’ Association (he was vice president and I, deputy general secretary), I wouldn’t have embarked on that course. I will forever be grateful to him.
Time flies; memories survive.
Mauritian residing in Rodrigues, Amanoola Khayrattee (pen name Alfa King) is contributing writer and journalist to La Gazette Mag de l’océan indien and This Week News Mauritius.
Retired, former meteorological cadre, trade unionist and OSH consultant, Amanoola has written for in-house union and other journals, publications and magazines. He runs two blogs since 2007: “Alfa King Memories”, and “Le Journal d’Alfa King”. When he is not reading or writing, he is on a 10+ km daily hike in anticipation of his monthly trails.
Amanoola may be reached at [email protected].