President of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) Ancel Roget says the trade unions, which met with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Wednesday, were able stop a lot of retrenchment the Government had planned.
“And I can tell you they had quite a lot planned,” Roget said.
In response to a question about what would be the union’s response if Government broke the moratorium, he said it would be “most unfortunate.”
“And there’s a phrase, ‘All hell will break loose!’” he added.
Speaking with journalists outside the Prime Minister’s office in St Clair following several hours of talks, Roget announced that the trade union movement had agreed to return to the tripartite consultative process in exchange for a promise from Rowley that there would be no more retrenchment of Government workers until the end of the year.
He said this included workers in all entities controlled by Government and any new plan to retrench workers after the moratorium expired would be brought to the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) for discussion, giving the trade unions an opportunity to put forward suggestions for avoiding the planned retrenchment.
Yesterday, the trade unions also complained to the Prime Minister about the refusal of ministers to meet with them.
“Their commitment just was not there,” Roget said. “And, therefore, we got a commitment from the Prime Minister and information that those ministers were communicated to and instructed that they should meet with the labour movement.. and have discussions aimed at treating with all of the issues within the respective line ministries.”
On the issue of the alleged “fake oil” fraud at Petrotrin, Roget said the matter was not discussed at the meeting and declined to make a statement. He added, however, the union had their own views on the scandal.
“I can assure you that issue is far from over,” Roget said.
Asked if he was more satisfied Wednesday than their previous meeting with Rowley on August 23, Roget said, “We will hold our breath on that. Let us see how the thing will work going forward.”