The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) has described a release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) as a "malicious and frontal attack" on the integrity of JTUM’s leadership and the entire trade union movement as a whole.
In a release on Saturday from JTUM Education and Research Officer Krystal Seecharan the organisation said that it wanted to reject outright the September 15th press release by the OPM regarding statements attributed to its leader, Ancel Roget, on Wednesday August 13th outside the Office of the Prime Minister. In the release the OPM accused Roget of making misleading statements regarding mass retrenchment of public sector employees.
JTUM said that they view the OPM’s press release as "carefully calculated to water down and reduce the significance of the moratorium on retrenchment that was agreed to by the Prime Minister and the entire labour movement (JTUM, National Trade Union Centre and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Organisations).
"By this statement the OPM has now clearly created a major issue where there was absolutely none in existence. The fact is, the reason why the entire labour movement left the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) was because without any discussion both the Government and employers had joined together in the retrenchment of workers even while the labour movement was a part of the tripartite body."
JTUM said that any suggestion by the OPM that their statement was misleading and that they betrayed the trust "is clearly an expression of hypocrisy at best."
"It was the PM (Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley) himself and his ministers who betrayed the trust and confidence of the labour movement by violating with impunity the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding signed on August 27th, 2015. Additionally, it is the Government who further betrayed the trust and confidence of the entire labour movement with the retrenchment of workers without discussions with the relevant recognised majority trade unions."
JTUM said that they have always stated publicly that "we believe the Government’s retrenchment of workers will be intensified, hence the reason for demanding a moratorium on retrenchment from the government as one of the main conditions for our return to NTAC.
"It is therefore passing strange that our well known position on this matter can come as a surprise to the OPM. This is a position we strongly maintain to date, and therefore feel fully and totally justified to express our position on this matter publicly and without apology."