MEMBERS of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM), National Trade Union Centre and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs yesterday issued yet another call for Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to meet urgently with them to address the burning socio-economic issues facing the country. The three labour federations' latest call to the Prime Minister came in the form of a letter which was hand delivered to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in St Clair yesterday.
In the letter, the three federations described the situation in the country today as a "toxic societal cocktail", especially with regards to the retrenchment of workers. They lamented being unable to meet with Rowley, despite numerous attempts to do so. Rowley as urged the labour movement to return to the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) which was launched last year.
Speaking outside the OPM after delivering the letter, Communication Workers Union (CWU) Joseph Remy said, "The Prime Minister must be the one to repair the damage." Remy reiterated the CWU's concerns about who will benefit from the closure of the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC). He claimed the dismantling of the TDC, "is not because of any incompetence in the tourism sector." Remy alleged the TDC's closure is connected to the proposed Sandals resort in Tobago and,"who is going to benefit from that."
He also reiterated the union's questions about TSTT's acquisition of Massy Communications Ltd. Remy claimed this was the,"prelude for the Massy Group to turnaround and take the cake in the telecommunications sector." He added, "We are going to fight that right down the road because that is a dangerous thing." He said the labour movement is seeing, "the one percent rearing their ugly heads."
JTUM leader Ancel Roget slammed Government's handling of the Tobago seabridge fiasco. Roget said while different entities and individuals are contemplating what actions to take, Tobagonians in particular, "are suffering in silence." He said this was because they and other citizens are, "not being able to be provided with a particular service on the seabridge." He reminded reporters that yesterday was the end of the two week period that the labour movement wanted Rowley to meet with them. Roget expressed regret that corruption in government did not end when the former Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration lost the September 2015 general elections.