The labour movement does not believe that Government's conversation on issues affecting the nation is genuine at this time says National Trade Union Centre president general Michael Annisette.
Any conversation moving forward, he told the media yesterday at the launch of Government’s revised policy on HIV and Aids in the workplace, at the Raddison Hotel, Port of Spain, "must not be a public relations stunt.”
The new approach must speak to what is happening in the country, he said, “ and what we need to do as a people to leave a better Trinidad and Tobago for our children and grandchildren.”
Commenting on Joint Trade Union Movement president general Ancil Roget’s call to boycott 120 elite businesses or “one percent” or the “most powerful group” in the country that controls businesses in the country, Annisette said, “If that statement has been made, it speaks to the question of how our system is operating.”
He continued, “We have to sit now and have a new conversation that will distribute the wealth in a particular way in which everyone will benefit.”
The issue was how to address the issue in the interest of TT, he said, because that kind of system brings about social disorder, crime and “the kind of disaffection you are seeing in Trinidad and Tobago right now.”
Historically, he said, there are facts to prove that the people with the money control the economics and the politics of any particular country.
“They do not control it in the best interest of the people of the country, therefore the trade union movement is saying, we need to have a new narrative that speaks to that particular issue,” he said.
“We believe that there is a need for us to forge a new approach in terms of the social dialogue, concept and philosophy that truly speaks to respecting each other, and actually speaking to the issues that are fundamental to Trinidad and Tobago," he said.
At present, he said, the labour movement was not satisfied with several issues. “As we said there are several letters that went to the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister. There are several people who are getting retrenched,” he said.
The issue of this one percent controlling the economics and politics, he said, is not unique to TT. However, it will continue, he said, “unless we have a new political system, a new narrative that is indigenous and speaks to empowering the citizens and communities within the country.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Labour, and Small and Micro Enterprise Development Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said, the date for Government to meet with union leaders is “the call” of the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.