For most of the time, Mauritius is filled with noise. Inflicted as it is upon us by the many opinion leaders with an appetite for the one-dimensional or by the serial culprits; those politicians who ply their trade pretending to stand for everything and indeed everyone or as in recent times by primitive rants on virtual platforms. Amidst all this brouhaha, hope has found its way again and that too in a most noble way.
Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle exemplified what capitalism could end up being when left unharnessed, where its motive goes beyond profit making and borders on domination. His words on the plight of workers, penned at the beginning of the 20th century, have not lost their pertinence, “he could not say that it is the thing men have called « the system » that is crushing him to the earth; that it is […] his masters, who has dealt their brutal will to him from the seat of justice. » The JNP’s present bras de fer with the MSPA which comes to an end today is by no means different. The “system”, and even more so since the 2008 pieces of legislation, dictates that the scales be tilted towards the powerful.
United the workers have remained in their fight. Resolute as they were on ensuring that collective negotiations are maintained at national level and that the 21 issues endured by them be dealt in a proper manner. History will remember that a group of employees managed to win by remaining undivided in the face of adversity and not shying from a morally and legally just strike.  For the ERA, despite its obvious limitations, offers protection to workers for a first strike;
“No worker shall cease to be in continuous employment of an employer for reason of his participation for a first time in a strike which is unlawful under the ERA” (Article 9(2) ERA)
Notwithstanding legal considerations, it should not be forgotten that in a tug of war where the parties are so far apart on the power spectrum, there is the need for the government to intervene and ensure that the oppressed are not left on their own. And in this case, the premier offered his vocal support to the toilers and was followed, timidly or vehemently depending on the influence of financiers on their say, by other figures. Such endorsement (provided it is backed by real commitment in the future) to the cause of workers from opposing political factions can only redeem Mauritian politics from its present state of constant squabbling.
Anjalay Coopen’s blood screamed justice in 1943. And I write it with pride, it can still be heard 69 years later.